Melvin Vaniman
Melvin Vaniman
from the original Post Card
Courtesy of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

Melvin Vanimman
The Triplane of Melvin Vaniman in Full Flight
Copy of the original Post Card
Courtesy of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

1101. - Le Triplan Melvin Vaniman en plein vol.
copied from the original Post Card
      Composé de 3 plans cintrés supportés par une armature en tubes d'acier, mesurant chacun 11 m. de longueur sur 2 20 de large. Surface totale: 72 m . Moteur Antoinette 70/80 HP à 8 cylindres actionnant une hélice à 2 branches placée à l'arriére. A l'avant z gouvernails: l'un horizontal placé à la partie inférieure, sert à regler la bauteur; le second, vertical, place au 2/3 de la hauteur de l'appareil, assure la direction et les virages, suivant qu'on l'incline de droite ou de gauche. La manoeuvre de gauchissement de ailes se fait au moyen d'un dispositif placé aux épaules de l'aviateur, et la direction a droite et à gauche au moyen de 2 pédales. Poids total : 500 kgr.
1101. - Melvin Vaniman Triplane in full flight
Translation courtesy of Dave Lam, 7-27-07
      Made of three arched planes, supported by a frame of steel tubes, each measuring 11 meters in length and 2 meters 20 cm in breadth. Total surface area: 72 (square) meters. 70/80 HP Antoinette engine with 8 cylinders driving a propeller with two arms placed to the rear. In front, two elevators (or rudders): one horizontal and placed in the lower part, serves to control the altitude; the second, vertical, placed about 2/3 of the height of the machine, controls the direction and the turning, whether one tilts to the right or the left. The function of warping the wings is made by means of an arrangement placed on the shoulders of the aviator, and the direction to the right or the left by means of two pedals. Total weight: 500 kilograms.

Many Thanks to Susan Sweetman
Library of Congress (Search for Vaniman)
Panorama Photographers
National Air & Space Museum
National Air & Space Museum (Search for Vaniman)
Floating on Air

Vaniman Title
  "Melvin Vaniman was a photographer with a head for heights. His panoramic photographs were nearly always taken from high above the ground and if a nearby building or ship's mast was not at hand, he erected his own 30 metre pole to achieve a bird's-eye view. His antics atop a pole in Katoomba Park in 1903 earned him the nickname 'the acrobatic photographer'. When his trusty pole didn't give him the height necessary to photograph the entire city of Sydney in a single sweep, he imported a balloon from America and spent months tethered 180 metres above North Sydney, experimenting with the new perspective. Vaniman even built his own camera, able to record panoramic views on film up to two metres in length and 50 cm wide in a single shot, to utilise the higher viewpoint." (continued)
Editor's Note:

This very comprehensive article was written by Alan Davies, Curator of Photographs at the State Library of New South Wales. It tells a very complete and absolutely fascinating story of Vaniman's life and career. You will be amply rewarded by visiting this site by clicking on:
Vaniman, The Acrobatic Photographer

The Akron
via email from Joseph Caro, 7-22-07
      Just thought you might want to know that the Akron airship tragedy that killed Mr. Vaniman happened on July 2, 1912 at ATLANTIC CITY, NJ
      Here is a drawing of the Akron which was circulated as a postcard before the event.
Joseph Caro
author, "Prince of Paparazzi"
Melvin Vaniman

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

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