November 16, 2012

Update from Flying Machine Model Builder

Model builder, Jack Allen, has furnished photos of the partially assembled model of the Apparatus for Navigating the Air patented by Micajah Clark Dyer in 1874. It is coming together nicely, and we commend Mr. Allen for his precise work on building this working model of the flying machine.

October 26, 2012

Belk Charity Day Sale

Bargains are waiting!

The Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation is participating in Belk's fall charity sale on Saturday, November 3rd, from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. We have tickets for admission to the sale available for you to purchase right now!
        In return for purchasing a $5 ticket, customers can take advantage of specially discounted merchandise and other items throughout the store. Plus, they receive a $5 credit on Charity Sale purchases completely offsetting the cost of the ticket. Charities get to keep 100 percent of the proceeds from each $5 ticket sold.
        The first 100 customers in each store on the morning of the Charity Sale will receive free Belk gift cards ranging in value from $5 to $100, and a chance to win one of three $1,000 Belk gift cards awarded company-wide.
        This is a great fund-raising opportunity for the Foundation and a money-saving opportunity for you. All proceeds from sale of the tickets will be used to further the education of the public about Clark Dyer's 1874 invention of an "Apparatus for Navigating the Air" (the predecessor of the airplane) through making presentations to and producing and placing exhibits in museums, schools and libraries.
        You can get your tickets in person from Sylvia Turnage or order them by mail by sending your check payable to Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation in the amount of $5 multiplied by the number of tickets you want to Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation, 805 Low Gap Rd., Blairsville, GA 30512.
        Thank you for your participation!

October 5, 2012

Working Model of Clark's Airplane

Intricate parts of the machine are taking shape.
Jack Allen, Model Builder
As you see the multitude of parts that comprised Clark’s 1874 “Apparatus for Navigating the Air” and consider the time and place where these parts were designed, formed and assembled, you get an inkling of the genius of pioneer inventor, Micajah Clark Dyer.
     As a matter of fact, as you look at the reproduction of these parts by model builder, Jack Allen, you also feel awestruck that any person today can study the patent of 1874, with its scant descriptions and no stated dimensions for the parts, and create a model-sized replica of the airplane. How fortunate that the old patent met a talented and willing man who could bring the flying machine back to life!
     Everyone is eagerly looking forward to seeing the completed model in the not too distant future. We applaud Jack for his skillful and innovative work on this project.

Some moving parts of model

Hull is one foot long

Hinged wing at top right

September 11, 2012

Historic Visions of the Future

Paris stamps - Visions of future flying
        Ken Akins furnished a link to a web page that is very interesting. A set of 19th century postcards shows what French artists thought we'd be doing at the turn of the 21st century. These were produced between 1899 and 1910, and some of the portraits aren't too far off the mark.
       Postcard number 12 (below) is a portrait showing what France’s air force was predicted to look like in the year 2000. The flying machines portrayed by the artist don't differ greatly from Micajah Clark Dyer’s 1874 patent drawings.

August 27, 2012

August 3, 2012

Five New Articles Found About Patent

Jim Powell has found five more articles reporting Clark's invention. Four of them were published in 1875, one in 1889.
       As you will see if you go to the sites, it is very hard to read the OCR scans of these old newspapers. There are numerous transcription errors, and the topics follow one after the other without paragraph breaks in some of them.
       The Daily Alta California gives a lengthy essay on the history of flight titled Sailing in the Air, Attempts at Aerial Navigation in the Last Hundred Years, in which it is stated: "Micajah Dyer of Union county, Ga., obtained a patent on an air-ship in 1875, but it, too, failed to sail." The author is mistaken in that remark.  An opinion obtained from a patent attorney about Micajah Clark Dyer's patent states that there are four things necessary for approval of a patent application: 
            1. It has to be a new item or process and not a mere obvious change
            2. It must be clearly apparent that the invention works as described
            3. It must be useful in its application
            4. A working model must be submitted with the patent application
       Since Clark's application was approved by the U.S. Patent Office and a patent certificate was issued to him, there is little doubt that the airplane actually flew. Furthermore, we have the testimony of eye-witnesses who saw it fly.     
      Here are links to each of the newspapers:
       1.  Ft. Wayne Weekly Sentinel, Jul. 21, 1875:
      2.  Iowa State Reporter, Jul. 14, 1875:
      3.  Stevens Point Daily Journal, Jul. 31, 1875:
      Jim Powell's newly found articles bring to 18 the number of newspapers we know about that reported the story of Clark's invention. It is very likely that there will be others found in the future as old newspapers are scanned and made available online.

July 23, 2012

Eight More Newspaper Articles in 1875 that Reported Clark's Invention

June 21, 2012

Another Clark Dyer Flying Machine article found

1885 Newspaper sheds light on Micajah Clark Dyer

Last month, Ken Akins, great-great-great grandson of Micajah Clark Dyer, discovered a hitherto unknown article in the Athens Banner-Watchman newspaper archives, dated April 28, 1885, about Clark's flying machine. The article is in the weekly edition, No. XLIV, Vol. XXXI, and it confirms what we have always heard through word-of-mouth stories handed down through generations that Clark had the knowledge for building a more advanced flying machine than the one described in his 1874 patent, but that he did not have the finances to complete the work.
       One has to wonder what more he added to his design in the 11 years between the patent in 1874 and this article about his search for finances in 1885. Most likely he added propeller(s) because we know about his drawings on the flyleaf of the family Bible. Also, he said in his patent that the plane could be powered by steam or “other motive power,” so details of how he planned to do this may come to light eventually.
       Clark would have been nearly 63 years old at the time of this 1885 article, and he lived another six years afterward. Hopefully, we will continue to learn more about what the status of his design was at the time of his death as further documents are uncovered.
       His neighbor, John Rich, who wrote the letter to the editor, makes some interesting comments about Clark: "Mr. Dyer has worked thirty years on his machine. He is not crazed, but is in dead earnest, and confidently believes that he has solved the problem of aerial navigation. He is not a crank nor a fanatic, but is a good, quiet citizen and a successful farmer."
       Here's hoping an article will be uncovered soon that reports the testimony of the people who observed his flights in the 1880s, because we have word-of-mouth stories from at least three witnesses, handed down through the years, who say they saw him fly his machine over his farm in Union County. Perhaps also documentation will be discovered of where his original patent and aircraft went. Lack of newspapers and cameras in the area during that period have made documenting this remarkable piece of history difficult with the passage of time.

January 12, 2012

Recording of the Clark Dyer Song

On October 27, 2011, Johnny Carter, owner of the National Recording Corporation of Rome, Georgia, invited Sylvia Dyer Turnage, to the NRC studio to record the song she had written about the invention of an airplane by their great, great grand-father, Micajah Clark Dyer. Sylvia wrote the words and music in 1994, but this is the first recording of the song.

The ballad recounts the full story of Clark’s dream of flying, his neighbor’s reaction to this wild idea, his labors in getting the aircraft built with primi-tive tools, and his ultimate success in piloting his craft off Rattlesnake Mountain in the rugged terrain of North Georgia in the 1880s.

Following the recording session, Johnny produced a CD and designed the case cover pictured here. It is available for purchase for $10 and the proceeds from sales will be used to further efforts in acquainting the public with the historical importance of Clark’s invention at this early date in history.

Orders can be placed by sending a check payable to the Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation to the address shown above. Please include information as to where the CD is to be mailed.

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Portrait of Clark Dyer by Local Artist Doris Durbin

Artist Doris Durbin of Blairsville, Georgia, painted the above portrait of Clark Dyer, working from an old image believed to be Clark and his wife, Morena, which was apparently taken in the 1880s and discovered about a year ago in the possession of one of Clark’s great, great granddaughters.

The Micajah Clark Dyer Foundation is placing a copy of Ms. Durbin’s painting in the Union County Public Library in Blairsville alongside copies of drawings of Clark’s “flying machine” presently displayed in the Heritage section of the library. The drawings are from Clark’s U.S. Patent No. 154,654 granted September 1, 1874, for his Apparatus for Navigating the Air, which he built and flew in Union County in the 1880s, giving him the distinction of being Georgia’s earliest aviator.

A copy of the painting will also be placed in the Union County Historical Society’s Museum to become a part of the Micajah Clark Dyer Exhibit already on display in the Museum. The Museum is located in the Old Union County Courthouse on the square in Blairsville.

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