Greely S. Curtis

Harvard-Boston's Great Aero Meet - Boston, Mass. Aug 19.
Daily Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tennessee:
August 19, 1910,
Via email from Bob Davis - 9-2-03
     "No aviation meet held in this country and probably none yet held in the world has had such a representative list of aviators as is assured in the Harvard-Boston aero meet, September 3 to September 13, according to the list of entrants to date announced tonight. The entry list is truly international and includes seventeen individual aviators and eleven types of air navigating machines. There is certain to be keen competition for the $40,000 hung up as prizes in a dozen events. The entrants follow:
  Walter Brookins
Arthur Johnson
Glenn H. Curtiss
Charles F. Willard
M. Didier Masson
A.V. Roe,
J. Graham White
William M. Hilliard
J. M. All_as
Ernest P. Lincoln,
Clifford D. Harmon
Captain Thomas Baldwin
Jacques Delesseps
Dr. W. P. Christmas
John G. Stratton
Horace F. Kearner
Greely S. Curtis
Wright biplanes
Wright biplanes
Curtiss biplanes
Curtiss biplanes
Vendome aeroplane
Roe Triplane
Farman biplane & Bleriot monoplane;
Herring-Burgess biplane
Harvard biplane;
Christmas biplane
Burgess-Curtiss aeroplane
Pfitzer monoplane
Bleriot monoplane
     If you search for "Greely Curtis +aviation" using the Google search engine, (9-20-03), you will find about 89 links. I could only find two which were of much interest.
     This page on the National Air and Space Museum website deals primarily with the history of Augustus Moore Herring, but there is a substantial mention of Greely Curtis in the story. You will also find a very nice photograph of the plane, along with its specifications. There is also a brief mention of William H. Hilliard, another pioneer aviator. I think you will want to read the whole story, so as to place everyone into context. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

Greely joined with Burgess in 1910
You can read their story
and their association with the Plum Island Airport,
by clicking on:
Greely Curtis


There are two references to Greely
on the AeroFiles website.
You can visit those two by clicking on:
Greely Curtis"
and using the "Find" function twice on "Greely"
Greely Stevenson Curtis
     Greely S. Curtis died December 15, 1947, at Marblehead, aged 76, after pioneering in aviation technique and industry.
     Graduating from Harvard in 1892 he pursued aeronautics at Cornell in the course of his thesis for M.E. degree, 1896, instigated by the current work of Langley. He also studied in Switzerland and gained first-hand experience in gliding on a visit with Lilienthal beginning September 1895.
     The years 1896-1899 were spent in engineering, five years as hydraulic engineer for the Boston fire department and fire department expert for the National Board of Fire Underwriters. Later he engaged in private practice as consulting engineer specializing in municipal fire protection and he was consultant for a number of the greater cities. In the course of this work he developed and produced the Curtis fire stream gauge which has world-wide acceptance.
     Another invention, patented and played locally but never marketed is a baseball game in which the pitcher can entirely control the speed and curves of a rolling ball, the batter can time his swing with almost complete precision and the defensive strategists may move metal traps (fielders) into the exact positions that the temperament of the batter, the skill of the pitcher and the progress of the play make advisable.
     The fall of 1909, as Orville Wright delivers the Army airplane, Mr. Curtis resumed active interest in aviation. After flying one of the first Burgess-Herring machines the spring of 1910, he went abroad to study European developments and bought a Santos Dumont "Demoiselle." Later he switched to a Bleriot which he brought to America.
     With the departure of A. M. Herring was formed the Burgess Co. & Curtis and its planes became prominent. Early in 1911 the company took a license from the Wright Company and sales of the finely finished Burgess-Wright began to individuals and to the Government. Flying schools were inaugurated and exhibitions given, in one of which Rodman Law made a parachute drop over Marblehead, April 13, 1912. The company built the Army's first tractor around the Renault engine.
     The Wright-Curtis suit having been won by the plaintiff in January, 1914, the company terminated its license and the Burgess Company was formed, still with Mr. Curtis, and there was built the allegedly non-infringing Dunne machine, and the company continued as a contractor to the Government through World War I. Early in 1917 Mr. Curtis assisted in organizing a Mass. Naval Militia unit.
     Subsequently Mr. Curtis joined the staff of experimental engineers of the General Electric Co. developing instruments of precision for naval and aviation use. In the later years he devoted himself to trusteeships, among them those of Proctor Academy and Kings Chapel. He was a member of a number of clubs and boards.
     Mr. Curtis was born in Boston, January 19, 1871, son of Greely Stevenson and Harriet (Appleton) Curtis. He married Fanny Hooper, daughter of Edw. William and Fanny (Chapin) Hooper at Boston, April 26, 1904. His children are: Greely Stevenson, Jr., born Oct. 30, 1905; Fanny Chapin (Mrs. Thomas Hale Ham) born January 11, 1908; Marian Adams, born August 14, 1911 (died 1929); and Richard Pelham, born June 1, 1915.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

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

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