Aeromarine Origins by H.F. King

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By H.F. King

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Lacking propulsive power, man comrived to be 'assisted by gravity'. Other early commentators instanced the flat, richocheting stone, or the ability of a schoolboy to cross a stream of water on small, broken pieces of ice - if he stepped lively. A craft of so-called 'shin form' was patented as early as 1837 by Abraham Morrison of Pennsylvania, and this has been instanced as a very early planing boat. The Patent Office in London, I find, holds only drawings, and in the absence ofa description I quote Capt H.

In order to keep down the species of ebullition, there was a projecting work at the stern which earned for the boat the name of "Smoothing Iron". 'The object of the invention was to substitute air friction for water friction. ' Thereafter, as Scott Russell observed as early as 1865, came recurring proposals for schemes to lubricate hulls with air, perhaps the best-known being that of the Swede Gustaf de Laval, whereby a stream of air bubbles was forced from tubes. Some fifteen years later the American Culbertson patented a scheme which appears similar to that declared by Sir Frederick Bramwell to have been implemented the best part of half a century earlier.

The Forlanini craft of 1906/7 had been handicapped by an unsatisfactory engine, and another was tried during 1908 and 1909, driven by steam. h. During 1910 Forlanini was experimenting with a two-ton craft having very accurately made steel foils and capable of carrying two to four persons. p. h. I alluded earlier to Ader's 'air-cushion hydrofoil' idea ofthe late 1800s; and I can now place on record a British proposal of 1909 for a craft having adjustable 'planes' and in which air was to be introduced under the bottom.

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