Monday, November 15, 2010

George Adell Buffalo's Early Aviator - 1911


Buffalo News May 28 1929
Blazed Trail Over Niagara in 1911
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Man Who Flew Spidery Plane over Niagara Still Hale at 72
In a Curtiss type biplane, which he built himself, George Adell, 72 of 142 Masten Street, made 
frequent flights over the Niagara River in 1911. Seated at the controls of the plane is Charles Mills, 
his partner in exhibition ventures.
   A Spidery looking contraption which made noisy and sometimes erratic progress through the air around Buffalo in the year 1911 evoked no little comment on the foolhardiness of it's sole passenger. Nevertheless the man that built that primitive airplane and flew it on the first flight across the Niagara River 18 years ago is still hale and hearty and as deeply interested in aviation as he was then.  He is George Adell, 72 of 142 Masten Street, an employee of the Lamson Co. of Boston for more than 45 years.  Back in 1872 when he was a boy in his teens in Auburn, he assisted an itinerant fakir to construct what would be known now as a helicopter.  His lifelong interest in aviation dated from that day.  
                                                                                                     It  Failed  to  Fly
Photo from my own collection of what may be Mr. Adell's plane
flying near Niagara River around Buffalo
   A portable steam engine was installed in the center of the platform and was surmounted by a huge propeller, which incidentally would not lift the clumsy ship, but proved a great drawing card for curious persons who were willing to pay money to see even an airplane that wouldn't fly.  Five or six years later entered into a partnership with a Professor Baldwin and the daring couple spent several months making balloon flights at county fairs.  The venture was a huge success until one summer day the valve in the envelope refused to function and they finished the flight from Auburn in a farmers apple tree ten miles away. That finished Mr. Adell's brief career as a balloonist.
Mr. George Adell
Built  First  Plane
   Mr. Adells interest in aviation, which waned somewhat after that disastrous experience, revived again after he moved to Buffalo in 1898, and when Orville Wright and Glenn Curtiss were experimenting, he decided to construct his own plane.  He secured plans for nine different types of ships for the percival Marshall Co. of London, England, and choose the Curtiss ship as the safest and easiest of operation.  At a cost of $2000 he built the machine in a shop in the Sidway Building in 194 Main Street. It was two years in the making.  After several brief but successful flights in it from the Country club grounds at Niagara Falls, he made the longest trip up the river to Fort Erie.


Photo from my own collection what may be Mr. Adell's plane
landing somewhere in or around Buffalo

                                                    Flew  Over  The  Cataract
 The decision to make exhibition flights when he took into partnership with him Charles Mills, an electrician aviator, who flew the machine over the Cataract for the first time.  they demonstrated in all parts of the state with only one accident.  In Binghampton one day Mills crashed from a height of 100 feet, breaking his collar bone and smashing the airplane. The dismantled ship is packed carefully in boxes in a warehouse in Tonawanda at the present time, but Mr. Adell has never lost his deep interest in aeronautics and is at present constructing planes of new and radical design.

Editors Note: Still looking for more information on this gentleman. If any one can provide more insight on Mr. Adell, please contact me.  The photo's are just an assumption on my part that they are of him.  They came from a collection I acquired from someone in the Buffalo area.  Any aeronautical  experts that wish to chime in on this feel free to do so. Thanks,  Jerry Malloy

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