Locomotive to Aeromotive
Octave Chanute and the Transportation Revolution
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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Foreword: Octave Chanute and “The Course of Human Progress”
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Octave Chanute died in his home at 1138 Dearborn Avenue on the morning of Wednesday, November 23, 1910. The family immediately wired the news to Wilbur Wright, who boarded a train in Dayton, Ohio, in order to reach Chicago in time for the funeral, scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 25. ...
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Gazing up the steps of the United States Capitol, thousands of visitors to Washington, D.C., every day are struck by the grandeur of this symbol of the American people. Nowhere is the pageant of America’s early history so well showcased as inside the Capitol’s great ceremonial rotunda. ...
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Because Octave Chanute had so many intertwining and diverse interests, I knew that I would need help compiling this biography. My husband Jim provided not only help but also constant support throughout this project. Especially in the last three years, Jim’s patience in the various stages of writing, editing, trimming contents, ...
1. The Formative Years
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Mississippi Delta. December 1838—After more than two months of monotony at sea, the Havre Paquet approached the wide Mississippi River delta. At the river entrance, Captain Robert H. McKown took on a local pilot to guide the sailing vessel, towed by a steamboat tug, over the final 120 miles to New Orleans. ...
2. The University of Experience
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Apart from the east coast, North America was thinly populated in the early nineteenth century, with few roads and little communication existing between the populace in the East and settlers living west of the Allegheny Mountains. To open up the inaccessible, or what some easterners called “worthless,” wilderness required an effective transportation system. ...
3. Opening the West
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The english philosopher Lord Francis Bacon wrote, “There be three things which make a nation great and prosperous; a fertile soil, busy workshops and easy conveyance of men and things from one place to another.”1 After successfully completing several hundred miles of railroads in Illinois, Octave Chanute began to realize his role as one to provide conveyance of men and things. ...
4. At the Top
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In the post–civil war years, land grant railways were frequently not as profitable as their promoters had hoped. “We have built a good many more miles of railroad than the country will support for some years and many weak concerns must go to the well. ...
5. Self Realization
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As an impatient teenager, the eighteen-year-old Octave had written to his father: “Although I hope to became wealthy in a certain—or rather an uncertain—number of years, I do not think that making money should be the only goal a person should have. Money is only precious because of the pleasures it can get for us. ...
6. A New Industry
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Growing up, Chanute’s father Joseph stressed that energy and perseverance were necessary to achieve success. After becoming part of the workforce and watching his coworkers, the budding young engineer wondered why some of his acquaintances had worked hard throughout their lives without becoming wealthy. ...
7. From the Locomotive to the Aeromotive
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Early in his working life, Chanute had become interested in the unconventional topic of manned flight, but in the interest of his career and social standing, he did not discuss it publicly. Now approaching what he considered the end of his professional career, this seemed an opportune time to investigate mechanical flight,2 but only as a “side issue.” ...
8. Encouraging Progress in Flying Machines
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By the early days of the twentieth century, the ancient taboo of flight had slowly emerged as a thoroughly modern inquiry of science. Although doubters still existed and the press still glorified experiments gone awry, most engineers fully anticipated the arrival of a powered flying machine. .,..
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About the Author, Publication Information, Back Cover
Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2011