1910 Seventy-five Years Ago

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During Glenn Curtiss’s pioneering airplane flight between Albany and New York, an as yet unheard of use for the airplane dawned on him. He announced it to the press upon landing: “All the great battles of the future will be fought in the air. I have demonstrated that it is easy to fly over cities and fortifications. It would be perfectly practical to drop enough dynamite or picric acid down on West Point or a city like New York to destroy it utterly.… Take my word for it, the days for big warships are numbered.”

The Navy took notice. When Curtiss flew over Keuka Lake, New York, on June 30 and dropped dummy bombs—eight-inch pieces of lead pipe—within a ring of buoyed flags representing a battleship, military observers were there. It was the first airplane bombing experiment. Fifteen out of seventeen bits of pipe splashed down on target, but Rear Adm. W. W. Kimball nevertheless declared: “There was nothing in the trial that would lead one to suppose that in the present state of the art of aviation there is anything in a possible aerial attack to cause the slightest uneasiness to the commanding officer of a well-ordered ship.” For one, he said, the sound of a plane’s engine would alert a ship to its approach.

By January the War Department was hiring men for aviation training.

June 25: The Publicity of Campaign Contributions Act is made law, requiring U.S. representatives to make public all contributions received for election campaigns.

July 1 : The first completely automatic bread plant opens in Chicago, Illinois.

July 20: The Christian Endeavor Society of Missouri begins its campaign to ban kissing in films. Kisses between actors portraying relatives are deemed acceptable.