Published Articles

Other Research


Why create a site on a long-dead inventor who almost no-one has heard of, and those who have don't believe in?

otivation for this Site

My own personal interest is the primary reason that I decided to create this archive of information and photographs on the late Gustave Whitehead. As a descendant of the inspired inventor, I grew up with the knowledge that my great-great uncle had done something truly amazing and had recieved no credit for it. When I told my schoolmates about this man, they laughed at me. My grade 10 social studies teacher flunked a paper that I wrote about him, claiming that even if I had cited other research on the subject, it was horribly flawed in the sense of what our known history was.

But this is many years later, and my interest in this case not only comes from a sense of personal injustice done my late uncle, but uncredited inventors everywhere. The study of history is usually of the, "great man" variety. IE: One great man did one great thing. This is true in all venues of history from exploration and the military to the development of new technologies. But rarely does one great man do anything. More often, there are a number of predecessors to any historic moment, but the most charismatic or wealthy win out against a backdrop of scrabbling others.

In this context, I would surely never claim that Whitehead himself was the sole inventor of the airplane either - he gained a great deal of insight from the Lillenthals in the construction of gliders, he had many unpaid assistants who helped see his dream become a reality, he gained his mechanical knowledge from other sources as well.


On the other hand, I do believe that he did conduct the world's first controlled and sustained flight in a "heavier than air flying machine," not only because of the family history, but because of research that has been done both in Bridgeport Connecticut and in the Bavarian region of Germany that has proven two things:

1) There were many people who did witness the early flights of Gustave Whitehead, too many to be discredited, including newpaper accounts.

2) The original design that Whitehead made was a machine that would have flown - something that two different groups of air enthusiasts proved in 1986 and again in 1996.

In reading about Gustave Whitehead in these following pages - you may or may not believe in the man that history forgot. But it is also important to note that even if you disbelieve his story, it is worth reconsidering whether one great person ever accomplishes anything alone, or only through the sum of all other's actions.

Megan Adam, January 1998

If you, the reader, posseses any information that is not contained in these pages, please let me know. I am interested in obtaining all known facts about this man in order to have a complete archive of his work available to everyone on the internet.