Louis Darvarich
Original Content Is © 2013 - Carroll F. Gray


Affidavit, July 19, 1934

I, LOUIS DARVARICH, residing at 845 Wording Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut, do depose and say that I was personally associated with him during his experiments with heavier than air flying machines.

In approximately April or May, 1899, I was present and flew with Mr. Whitehead on the occasion when he succeeded in flying his machine, propelled by steam motor, on a flight of approximately a half mile distance, at a height of about 20 to 25 feet from the ground. This flight occurred in Pittsburgh, and the type machine used by Mr. Whitehead was a monoplane. We were unable to rise high enough to avoid a three-story building in our path and when the machine fell I was scalded severely by the steam, for I had been firing the boiler. I was obliged to spend several weeks in the hospital, and I recall the incident of the flight very clearly. Mr. Whitehead was not injured, as he had been in the front part of the machine steering it.

In 1902 I was present on another occasion, this time in Bridgeport, Connecticut, when Mr. Whitehead succeeded in flying his machine, propelled by motor, approximately four or five feet off the ground. The airplane used was a monoplane with folding wings, which had been constructed in the yard back of the Whitehead residence at 241 Pine Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut. The airplane was pushed into the street from the yard back of the house, and the flight took place in the street.

I recall also that Mr. Whitehead constructed a revolving motor of hexagon shape, but do not recall what use was made of it.

I worked with Mr. Whitehead almost continuously in spare time from 1899 to 1912.

(Witnessed and Signed July 19, 1934 )

Stella Randolph typed notes July 16, 1934

Of course I remember about Mr. Whitehead's flying. I flew with him in Pittsburgh, in the first engine he built. This was a steam engine. I was firing for him. He was so happy that we did not watch our course and we flew up against a building and I was scalded. Afterward we came to Bridgeport on bicycles. Here we flew again, about five or six feet off the ground. He had a revolving engine he built too. I could not understand how an engine was to revolve and drive too, but we built it. It was shaped like a hexigon (sic). Someone took it away from Mr. Whitehead. He showed it in New York, about 1902 or 1903.

The time in Bridgeport when we flew we pushed the machine into the street from the back of the house where it had been built, and it flew down the road (it was then) for some distance. I could not recall possibly for how long a time it flew or how great a distance, but I know it was five or six feet from the ground, and it flew with a motor in it. ["It was about April or May I think." is x'd out]

The time in Pittsburgh when we flew, it was a three-story house we flew against and we were up between the third story and the roof when we struck it. It was twenty-five of thirty feet. It was a distance of a half mile we flew there, at least. Of course I cannot recall now anyone about us. We were not thinking of people, and then the pain I had with my leg after I was scalded made me forget everything else. I was in the hospital some time with it. I will be glad to show you the scar I carry on my body to this day from that flight.

Stella Randolph typed notes, July 22, 1936

(Darvarich told me the Boston Globe had an article in December 1935 concerning Whitehead) He also said Jennings, of the New York New Haven and Hartford Railroad had backed Whitehead at one time and that they had had a stop in Stratfield about 1903-4. He told of having gone up many stories in some building where Whitehead showed him a box model he had built. Darvarich thinks this was in the year 1901 but it may have been 1900.

Letter, Junius W. Harworth to Ernest L. Jones, April 22, 1950

Darvarich often talked of these events with W and their conversation certainly showed by their facial expessions that each had experienced considerable delight in this flight. W brought a steam engine to Bridgeport, stating that it was the one used in the Pittsburgh flights. I recall distinctly that he repaired this engine, took it to the kitchen of his Pine street home, set it on the sink, and useing (sic) rubber garden hose tested it out with city water for leaks. In order to make the pipe joints tight he 'tinned' each fitting, assembled them and then reheated the joints was a gas hand torch. These events are very vivid to me as I watched W with great interest as he worked and explained his actions to me. This two cylinder machine is the same one shown on page 29 of the S. R. book. I do not have addresses nor do I recall the names, John, Burns or Kane. I also recall that W. tested his Pittsburgh engine, useing (sic) a tank or purchased compressed air. Upon turning the air on, I recall that the valves as well as the inlet pipes became heavily frosted over while the motor roared on. This is the first ocassion (sic) that I ever witness (sic) the frosting of pipes due to the passage of air.

Letter, Junius W. Harworth to Stella Randolph, March 6, 1937, p.2

Then about Louis Darvarich. In all the time that I knew him, I NEVER SAW HIM SOBER. [emphasis as in original] Whitehead never took him anywhere under these conditions.