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Articles from the USA

By Elizabeth Feisst

Quoted with permission from Smithsonian Institution

Reference: Record Unit 31:Series 1 Office of the Secretary (Samuel P Langley) Incoming Correspondence 1866-1906, Box 55, Folder 1I found this wonderful Qualtrough archival document in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, USA. Frank Qualtrough, (bn October, 1859 in Rochester, NY) but who lived out most of his adult life in Salt Lake City, wrote poetry, raised jersey cows and poultry on a small farmlet and also appears to have had a flair for invention in relation to flight. I have in my possession a copy of a letter dated Dec 23 1896, written by Frank from his home at 161 E. 6th South Street, Salt Lake City, Utah to Samuel P Langley , who appears to have held the position of Office of the Secretary in the US Government of the day.

The 6-page letter, written in beautiful hand-writing, discusses Frank’s idea on flight (remember planes hadn’t been invented then, though it wasn’t too far off before the first flight took place in the early 1900s) and how the principle used by locomotives could be used as a basic principle for flight. It is a very technical and scientific letter with two detailed diagrams and Frank appears to be desiring that Prof Langley be encouraged to explore the idea he suggests at government level. Frank finishes off his letter: “I have been talking up the idea here until some of my landlocked friends think I am a crank. It may be that you will see something in it – or see the defect in it and be kind enough to point it out if you are not too busy to do so.”

Respectfully, Frank Qualtrough* Frank died in 1920 leaving his twin sister Frances, sister Lizbeth Margaret (Aunt Biddie to the family) and brother Elmer Milton, who was the only one to marry and have a family.

Those of you who are descended from Frank’s brother Elmer Milton Qualtrough and his wife Emma Van Vranken Freligh may wish to acquire a copy of this document for your family archives. See reference details above.


February 2002

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