Individual Author Record
Name: Howard L. ScamehornPen Name: None Genre: History Born: Sites:
Illinois ConnectionHistorian Howard Scamehorn originally published this for the Illinois State Historical Society in 1957.
Biographical and Professional Information
Titles At Your Library
Balloons to Jets: A Century of Aeronautics in Illinois, 1855-1955
ISBN: 0809323362 Southern Illinois University Press. 2000
Balloons to Jets: A Century of Aviation in Illinois, 1855–1955, written by historian Howard L. Scamehorn, was originally published in 1957 by the Illinois State Historical Society and distributed only to the society’s membership and to select libraries in the state. Scamehorn offers a wealth of information not only on one hundred years of aviation in Illinois but also on events leading up to the Wright Brothers’ initial flight in 1903.
Scamehorn’s history of aviation in Illinois covers such topics as amateur pilots, aviation contests and meets, the development of airmail, military aeronautics, commercial air transport, the expansion of airports, flyers and flying achievements, and state and federal regulation of aeronautics. But Balloons to Jets is not just a history of aviation in one state. Scamehorn also traces national and international aviation progress from the free balloon to the dirigible. He then describes aeronautical activities and experiments by such people as Octave Chanute, Glenn Curtiss, Thomas Scott Baldwin, Otto Lilienthal, Samuel Pierpont Langley, and others that lent support to the Wrights’ flight at Kitty Hawk. Of interest to both armchair aviation enthusiasts and professionals, Scamehorn’s study illustrates the evolution of commercial aviation from its origins with the military and the itinerant flyer to Charles Lindbergh’s successful transatlantic trip in 1927 and the subsequent explosion in public interest in flight.
Balloons to Jets is lavishly illustrated with eighty-six black-and-white historic photographs of early aviators and a range of flying craft, including hot-air balloons, dirigibles, gliders, biplanes, monoplanes, bombers, and early luxury transports. This reprint features a new foreword by Gene Abney, the former director of the Illinois Department of Aeronautics.