Friday, June 11, 2021

Is This Aviator Hoaxing Nation By His Secrecy? -- June 11, 2021


Detroit Times, 29-December-1909

Walter Tillinghast claimed to have built and flown a flying machine. I think he was stretching the truth.


New Englanders Think Wallace E.
Tillinghast, Expert Mechanical
Engineer, Has Wonderful Air ship -- Flights Concealed.

Young Inventor Says He Has Gone
Faster Than 120 Miles an Hour
In His Strange Craft.

(Editor's Note -- Either Wallace K. Tillinghast, the Worcester, Mass., inventor, has made the greatest airship in the world or he is a great hoaxer. The strange moving lights seen by thousands of persons in New England were made by his airship, Tillinghast says. Yet he is unwilling to exhibit it by daylight, and has given only flimsy excuses for his secrecy. Why does Tillinghast hesitate to show his invention to the public? And why did he suppress news of his great test if, as he says, he really flew from Boston to New York in less than five hours? Whether Tillinghast is a joker or not, he's an interesting chap, and our Worchester correspondent has written the following story giving some new facts about him and his machine.)

WORCESTER, Mass., Dec. 29. -- The claims made for his new airship by inventor Wallace E. Tillinghast are no more startling than the airship's design. There Isn't an airship anywhere like it.

"I can fly as no one has ever flown before," he said to The Times correspondent here. "My airship will make 120 miles an hour. It can be stopped in midair, and is as safe -- even safer -- than an auto. When I get good and ready I will show it to the world."

The fact that not once, but several times, people in a dozen cities have seen strange moving lights in the sky, seems to bear out what Tillinghast says. But even his closest friends do not know why he has kept hisu wonderful invention such a secret.

Who Is Tillinghast? Does his record indicate that he would perpetrate a hoax on the world of aeronautics?

Decidedly it does not. He is a Chicago "Tech" school graduate, an expert mechanical and electrical engineer. He has seen service with the Northern Pacific railroad, the Westinghouse concern and Allen & Redd of Providence. While at the last named place Tillinghast invented a heat regulator for steam and hot water systems, which is making him a fortune. He patented it and manufactures it at a good-sized factory here. In all his previous inventions and work he has had no secrets. Why does he shelter his aeroplane so cunningly?

The one remarkable feature about the machine is the way it keeps itself right side up in any kind of a wind. It has two giant "feelers" like an insect’s antennae. These are of rigid frames of steel, 33 feet long, and at the end of each is a box kite. No matter how the wind blows, these kites right themselves and the machine to which they are attached. They can be raised or lowered. When there is no opposing wind, they are lifted to an angle of 43 degrees.

"If I am taking night flights over Boston and New England that’s my business." said Tillinghast. "I will not say that I am or that I am not. I have gone faster than 120 miles an hour. I can go faster again. I have had this machine perfected long enough to take more than 150 flights. And where some of those flights took me will surprise a lot of people when I get ready to talk."

One of the wonderful features of the machine is its car. Bleriot and Latham have their seats above the rigid spread of wings. Tillinghast sits below his plane, in a little cubbyhole protected by an automobile windshield. Inside is his wonderful engine. He has made application to patent it, he says. It is lighter than that of the Wright brothers and far more powerful. It generates enough electricity for his front searchlight and a red tail-light which will serve to warn aviators of the future, who may be on his trail, of the peril of collision.

That his claims are well-founded -- well, you don't know what to believe. There is an airship. That's sure. Thousands have seen it. Here in New England they believe in Tillinghast.

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