Aaron Cohen
Aaron Cohen
Aaron G.Cohen
New Britain, Connecticut - 1909
Collection of Aaron S. Williams, 1-23-07
Aaron's grandson

Nels J. Nelson
     Above you see Nels Nelson in his 33-foot flying machine at Cicero, Illinois in 1911. Nelson with the same machine exhibited before crowds at Plainville, Connecticut as discussed in the accompanying story just following.
     A news story in the Hartford Connecticut Times of August 18, 1956, as sent in by P. H. Spencer, brought out the history of aviation in Plainville, Connecticut. "In 1911," it said, "Nels Nelson, a daring 22-year-old from New Britain, first flew his 33-foot "flying machine" from the Scott Swamp District off present Route 177 in Plainville. It went on to describe the event as publicized in Hartford papers of that early day.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP,
June, 1957, Number 57

Air Transportation and the Development of the
Aviation Industry in Connecticut
     In Connecticut, as throughout the rest of the country, the flying fever gripped the imaginations of men - men such as Charles K. Hamilton, Nels J. Nelson, Frank Payne, George F. Smith, Peter Dion, Howard S. Bunce, Christopher Lake, Percival Spencer, and others. Hamilton of New Britain was the first. Chucking his dirigible, he learned to fly airplanes under the great Glenn H. Curtiss in late 1909 and within six months his daring flight exhibitions throughout the United States made him perhaps the best known America flyer at that time. When on July 2, 1910 Hamilton returned to his hometown, New Britain, to show the home folks what flying was like, he was already a popular idol. An estimated 50,000 people gathered at New Britain to watch him make the first public flight in the State. Soon New Britain and Bridgeport became the centers of aviation in the State.
     The faint beginnings of an industry occurred at New Britain when Nelson built, flew and sold several Curtiss-type airplanes between 1911 and 1914. A dozen or more obscure persons in New Britain feverishly rushed construction of airplanes mostly of their own designs. None could surpass Hamilton and Nelson in flying skill or Nelson in construction. The promise of an aviation industry at New Britain faded when Nelson and his partner, Aaron G.Cohen, failed to win a U.S. Government contract to build Nelson-designed airplanes.
     This excerpt is from a paper presented by Harvey Lippincott in 1977 at the Meeting of the Association for the Study of Connecticut History. It is made available through the courtesy of THE NEW ENGLAND AIR MUSEUM. I highly recommed that you visit this site. It is a treasure of articles and photos for fans of aviation.

Aaron Cohen
Aaron G. Cohen & Friends
"I think the man second from the left, who is somewhat bald, may be
Senator Thomas Dodd"

If you can help us to identify these men, please contact us.
Photo & legend from Aaron S. Williams, 1-23-07
Aaron's grandson

Aaron Cohen
THE HARTFORD COURANT; Sunday, February 14, 1963

A. G. Cohen, Realtor, Dies;
Campaigned for Elderly
     Aaron G. Cohen, Hartford realtor and champion of the elderly, died Saturday at Hartford Hospital He was 73.
     Cohen, who lived at 471 Fern St., West Hartford, as born in New Britain Mar. 27, 1891, and later moved to Hartford where he became well known locally as an auto dealer and for his campaigns in behalf of better treatment for the elderly and abolition of capital punishment.
     He was a frequent contributor of letters to the Courant and The Times, where he took up causes of old people, mistreated chronic alcoholics, Indians, and condemned killers.
     In a letter attacking capital punishment, he wrote, "We go on treating the effect, but we teach killing. After the legal killing, more crimes are committed."
Attended Conference
     Cohen attended the White House Conference for the Aged in Washington in 1961, and was a member of the Governor's Commission for the Aged. He was president of Allied Associates, a real estate firm, and in 1961 announced that the firm would charge only half the regular commission for property owned by retired persons living on Social Security.
     Later in his life, he gave talks and wrote articles on reincarnation, and in 1959 wrote a book, "The Path to Reincarnation," which explained his belief in the meaning of rebirth into another life.
     In his book, he emphasized the immortality of man. He wrote that men and women are created free and equal, but they are not born so...The circumstances in which you are born are the natural outcome of the way in which you have lived and comported yourselves in your former lives."
     In 1914 Cohen was the co-designer of a seaplane and a one-man submarine, and formed the Submarine Exploring and Recovery Co. Later, Cohen claimed his submarine was used as a prototype of the one-man Japanese submarine in World War II.
'Smallest Car'
     Also in 1914, he built the "smallest car in the world," developing balloon tires for it. In Hartford he became an auto dealer and was the first Ford salesman in New England. He later introduced Chevrolet to this area, and subsequently also sold Oldsmobile, Dodge, Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg cars.
     He was a member of Temple Beth Israel, a 50-year member of Harmony Lodge, AF&AM, of New Britain, president of the Dog Welfare Assn., a director of the Open Hearth Assn., and a member of the Aeronautical Society.
Son Died in War
     Cohen's son, Pfc. Aaron William Cohen, was killed in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II.
     He leaves his wife, Mrs. Bertha Wetstone Cohen; two daughters, Mrs. Herbert Sumliner of Kingston, N.Y., and Mrs. Frank Grusik of Camden, Me., formerly of Old Saybrook; two sisters, Mrs. Leah Loveland and Miss Bella Cohen, both of Hartford; and ten grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held today at 2:30 p.m. in Temple Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, with Rabbi Nathan Hershfield officiating. Burial will be in the family plot in Beth Israel Cemetery.
     Honorary bearers are Gov. Dempsey, Sen. Abraham Ribicoff, Sen. Thomas J. Dodd, Dr. Jack Ziering, Atty. Harold Zinman, Nathan Conn, Samuel Menus, Atty. George Schwolsky, Dr. Leo Reiner, William P. Haas, James M. Hayes, Dr. William Doerr, Edward Weisen, Paul Loewenberg, Robert La-Zarre, Charles Arons, Henry Baker, Allen Silverton, Harry Kindsor, and members of the Commission on Services for Elderly Persons. The Weinstein Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
Collection of Aaron S. Williams, 1-23-07

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

BackNext Home