Albert B. C. Horn
Corrected previous posting and posted the two A.B.C. Horn letters in full on July 5, 2014; Original Content Is © 2013-2014 Carroll F. Gray

HORN, Albert B.C.

1735 Dewey St. • Hollywood, Florida

Jan 28th 1936

Miss Stella Randolph

My dear Miss Randolph,

In answer to your letter of Jan. 23rd which was forwarded to me here in Florida.

Regarding Gustave Whitehead, my acquaintance with him dates back to 1894 or 5 in Boston when Mr. J. B. Millet (a publisher now deceased.) acting for The Boston Aeronautical Society employed me as a mechanic to build a flying machine in conjunction with Mr. Whitehead. We made one [a flying machine] of bamboo, guyed with piano wire and covered with fine woven cotton cloth - a seat suspended between the wings to support the operator, working two smaller wings for propulsion.

When completed it was taken to the estate of one of the sponsors for a trial, which ended in no flight, which was surmised by all concerned, knowing mere manpower could not propel the machine which measured about thirty-two feet from tip to tip, very tight and strongly made -

I have a 4x5" head shot of machine taken at the fields (in Mass. home.)

We also made a glider after the pattern of Lilienthal's with which Whitehead managed to get off the ground for short distances. A lighter person would have done better as his weight must have been nearly 200 lbs.

After this experiment, he went to New York from where about a year later I received a letter telling me of a toy manufacturer sponsoring him and that he was having an engine made for power plant for further tryouts.

I have not heard of him since, until my son mailed me the interesting clipping from a Washington paper of your research.

If I can be of further help to you do not hesitate to let me know.

Very truly yours

Albert B. C. Horn

I will remain
here in Florida until May.


231 West Street * Needham Heights, Massachusetts

Aug 27th 1936

Miss Stella Randolph
834 Madison Street N. W.
Washington, D.C.

My dear Miss Randolph,

I received your letter of Aug 18th and Feb 11th letter in Florida, which I carefully put away. I know I had here at home a better picture for you which I found but had a grand hunt for your letter.

I took the picture at the trying out ground at Mr. Hemmunsway's Estate at the Blue Hills. The plate I have so far not been able to locate, it may have been left at my former residence -

The picture is of the flying machine man powered. In the picture Mr. Whitehead has his hands in the handles of the propeller wings, which when moved up and down forced the machine (NOTE: written as "Mch." in original) forward in the manner of a bird's wings, the front edges being rigid and the back edges very flexible. The whole machine was made of bamboo, using piano wires for guys, planes and propellers were covered with close woven light cotton cloth. I believe if power driven it would have gone into flight.

The glider we made was similar to one made by Lillienthal (sic) in Germany W. soared in for short distances if he had been of a lighter weight he would have been better -

In answer to your inquiries, I am sure after leaving Boston he did some experimenting sponsored by Horsman in New York from there he wrote me and told of making an engine flying power -

The clipping from The Evening Star my son sent me dated Aug 13th by Don Block -

Circumstances made it so that I did not stop at Washington on our way home from Florida.

I am enclosing the picture you sent me which fortunately was in the only letter I received addressed to me in Florida.

I shall make another search for the plates so I am sure there is one of the glider also. I will send if found to you

very truly yours

Albert B. C. Horn