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Aerial Navigation Company of America

In February 1908, a New York lawyer, author, economist, and inventor named Henry Laurens Call arrived in Girard, Kansas, with blueprints for a flying machine he had designed. He then proceeded to talk virtually everyone in town to invest a total of $2,500 for the purpose of establishing an airplane manufacturing company called Aerial Navigation Company of America Inc. One of Call's biggest inestors was Julius Augustus Wayland, publisher of the nationally known socialist newspaper Appeal to Reason. Call was going to fly a delegation of Socialists to the national convention in Chicago on May 10, 1908, in exchange for Wayland's investment. To make the trip, Call built a four-winged "airplane" with two 20hp Curtiss motors and four propellors that he said could carry 10 passengers and their luggage. The plane was not finished until July 9, 1908, however. Dubbed the "Mayfly" by the locals, the plane proved far too ungainly and heavy for flight and ended up being more properly called "No Fly."

This is believed to be the H.L. Call-built contraption dubbed the "Mayfly."
1908 'Mayfly'

Despite the failure of the "Mayfly," Call's financial support lasted long enough for him to design and build a total of 14 prototypes, only one of which (the last) ever made it into the air (and then only for very short spurts). The company went bankrupt in 1912 and Call left Girard. Five years later, at the age of 50, Call was killed while flying a plane in Wisconsin.


Julius Augustus Wayland

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This page was last updated on March 12, 2016.

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