|The Aeronautic Society of New York|
of gliders as was given at this first little exhibition would create deep interest, because the
people have more understanding, and would not be looking for wonderful stunts
in the sky.
Nor was the crowd at all acquainted with the novel vehicle of speed, the wind-
wagon. Unfortunately, the race arranged between the windwagons of Dr. Julian P. Thomas
and Prof. W. H. Pickering of Harvard University was prevented by a serious accident to Dr.
Thomas. While the doctor was practising a couple of days before the exhibition in the big
wagon he had built, the front wheels collapsed in a sharp turn made to avoid a motorycle,
and Dr. Thomas was very badly shaken up. A demonstration was given with Prof. Picker-
ing's small wagon.
The breakdown of Dr. Thomas's windwagon made the contest for propellers impos-
sible, for they were to have been tried out on that machine. A fine collection of kites was
assembled, including a complete meteorological outfit, very kindly sent by Prof. Willis L.
Moore, chief of the U. S. Weather Bureau, and worked under the charge of Prof. A. J.
Henry of Mount Weather Observatory. But when weather was wanted for kites, it was
weather that would have suited aeroplanes. Innumerable models were entered in the model
contests; and many of them were of fine design and superb workmanship. But the
enormous crowd broke in on to the flying ground, and rendered the tests impossible. Some-
thing went wrong with the new hydrogen plant, which had been erected at considerable cost,
and it would not make gas!
However, the Montgolfier balloon made a good ascent, and the motorcycle races,
which proved excellent, were got through before the crowd spread upon the track.
Very many distinguished men assisted as Judges, etc., and the Society was able to
offer a large number of really fine prizes, including nine silver cups, two fo which were
presented by Octave Chanute, a very handsome trophy, given by Dr. Thomas, and three
But the one deeply regretted occurrence of the day was the accident to Lawrence J.
Lesh, which confined him in a hospital for over seven months and threatened at one time to
render the lad a cripple for life. Though only a boy 17 hears old, Lesh had done a great
deal of experimental gliding. He held, in fact, the world's record, having made a flight of
more than six miles in length over the St. Lawrence River, towed by a motorboat.