1913, Captain Thomas S. Baldwin, Red Devil Aeroplane, Letter Signed
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1913, Captain Thomas S. Baldwin, Red Devil Aeroplane, Letter Signed:
This item is a wonderful, letter dated 1913, on Captain Baldwin's Red Devil Aeroplane letterhead, where Captain Thomas S Baldwin has signed a brief letter regarding his availability to put on an air show....letter is 8x11, folds, else in overall very fine shape.
Thomas Scott Baldwin (June 30, 1854 – May 17, 1923) was a pioneer balloonist and U.S. Army major during World War I. He was the first American to descend from a balloon by parachute.
In 1900, Baldwin created a motorized balloon. He used a motorcycle engine built by Glenn Hammond Curtiss and an aerodynamic cigar-shaped, hydrogen filled, balloon. He created the dirigible "California Arrow", which underwent the first controlled circular flight in America on August 3, 1904. The aircraft was piloted by Roy Knabenshue at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. The Army Signal Corps paid him $10,000 for a dirigible that could be used for sustained and controlled navigation. Baldwin created a dirigible that was 95 feet (29 m) long and powered by a new, more powerful Curtiss engine. The Army bought it and designated its first dirigible "SC-I" (Signal Corps Dirigible Number 1). Baldwin picked up the sobriquet: "Father of the American Dirigible." He received the Aero Club of America's first balloon pilot certificate.
When he returned from the Pacific tour, Baldwin began testing a new airplane at Mineola, New York. The new aircraft was similar to the basic Curtiss Pusher design but was constructed of steel tubing instead of wood. The aircraft was constructed by C. and A. Wittemann of Staten Island, New York, and was powered by a 60 horsepower (45 kW), Hall-Scott V-8. It was capable of 60 mph (97 km/h). Baldwin named his new aircraft the "Red Devil III", and thereafter each of his designs would be called a "Baldwin Red Devil.
He died on May 17, 1923, in Buffalo, New York, at the age of 69.
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