Photographs of the World's First Aircraft Carrier

More

On November 14, 1910, Eugene Ely became the first pilot to successfully launch a plane from a stationary ship. The Curtiss pusher airplane, one of the first models in the world to be built in any significant quantity, flew for two miles before Ely landed on a beach. Using the same aircraft, Ely landed on the USS Pennsylvania on January 18, 1911, while the ship was anchored at the San Francisco waterfront. He had to use a braking system made of ropes and sandbags, but he was able to quickly turn around and take off once again, proving that ideas proposed in Clement Ader's 1909 L'Aviation Militaire could work.

These rare photographs of the USS Birmingham, an armored cruiser considered to be the world's first aircraft carrier, were recently resurfaced by TechEBlog. The Birmingham, which launched on May 29, 1907, was commissioned several times before being used to patrol the northeast coast of the United States after the American entrance into World War I. On June 14, 1917, she escorted the first American troops to France and then was used as an escort between the British Isles, Gibraltar, and France. After several more trips that included tours of the eastern Mediterranean, Central America, and South America, the USS Birmingham was decommissioned on December 1, 1923, and sold for scrap seven years later.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Did I Study Physics?

In this hand-drawn animation, a college graduate explains why she chose her major—and what it taught her about herself.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In