PROFESSOR THADDEUS LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Past on Parade: Lowe 's airship viewed in 1910 as aviation advance
Pasadena Star-News (CA) - Sunday, January 2, 2011
Author: Sid Gally, Correspondent

PASADENA - Professor T.S.C. Lowe is mostly remembered in Pasadena as the creator of the mountain railway above Altadena.

Earlier, he learned to isolate lighter-than-air gases, became a balloonist and ran the Union Army air observation service in the Civil War. He made lots of money by selling his patents for making illuminating gas.

He was an inventor and promoter - and not all his ventures succeeded.

One of these was the Lowe Planet Airship as described in a 1910 brochure in the collection of the Pasadena Museum of History. The illustration is intended to show his future airship nearing Echo Mountain, where he had an observatory.

The airship was a hydrogen-filled balloon carrying a passenger compartment with a navigation room atop. The balloon was treated with a secret Lowe process to make it impervious to the gas. Two automobile engines drove propellers to move the ship.

The Pasadena Board of Trade gave its unqualified approval to the venture.

The introduction to the booklet by the Aerial Publishing Co. of Los Angeles said, "The aircraft of the type and size herein considered will transport twenty to fifty passengers, with as luxurious comfort and safety as a Pullman Car or transatlantic streamer."

They added, seeking investors, "That the Lowe Planet Airship is the next great movement in aerial navigation and therefore offers the best financial investment in the world, will not be doubted after a careful perusal of the following pages."

The writer, perhaps Lowe himself, said of the balloon, "After years of personal experience and a thorough study of the experiments off others, Professor Lowe has demonstrated that the globular form is the only safe and practical method of airship construction. It requires no framework to support its shape, presents the least surface to aerial currents in proportion to its carrying capacity and is in no danger of tilting."

The ship required no special landing or takeoff area, had anchors for land or sea, and could be folded up for shipping, both the balloon itself and the compartments.

The brochure ends, "Hence the promoters of the Lowe Planet Airship confidently affirm the immense superiority of their aircraft over that of any other type, in principles and details of construction, lifting capacity, easy control, comfort and safety of passengers."

INDEX PAGE

BEFORE THE WAR

CIVIL WAR YEARS

INVENTIONS AND INDUSTRY

NORRISTOWN PENNSYLVANIA YEARS

PASADENA CALIFORNIA YEARS

MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY

AFTER THE RAILWAY

LOWE FAMILY

BOOKS ABOUT LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

EVENTS AND REUNIONS

ARTIFACTS AND HISTORY

ENCYCLOPEDIA BIOGRAPHY

ACCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS

LINKS TO OTHER THADDEUS LOWE WEBSITES