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Daring Deliveries: The U.S. Post Office and the Birth of Commercial Aviation

At the beginning of the 20th century, dreams of flying morphed from science fiction to reality. From the Wright Brothers’ early expeditions in Kitty Hawk, to the World War I fighter pilots in Europe, the airplane generated excitement around the world. Yet despite intense interest and publicity, the airplane’s practicality was still in doubt. Although […]

This Week in Universal News: A Hovercraft Crosses the English Channel, 1959

On July 25, 1909, Louis Bleriot became the first man to fly over the English Channel. In 1959, the flight was commemorated with the first crossing by hovercraft. Taking a hovercraft between England and France was a reality for commercial passengers between 1968 and 2000, when a commercial hovercraft service offered transportation across the English Channel. […]

This Week in Universal News: Tennis Legends Wills and Wightman Take on the Boehm Twins, 1931

On July 15th, 1931, legendary tennis players Helen Wills and Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman competed against Hilda and Helen Boehm in the first round of the National Doubles Championship at Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The 17-year-old Boehm twins were junior doubles champions in 1931. Between 1922 and 1938, Helen Wills won 19 of the […]

Alternative Aviation: Rocket Men and Flying Platforms

This post was written by Heidi Holmstrom. Heidi works in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. You may recall our blog post from the beginning of April about the Avrocar, the U.S. Air Force’s flying saucer. The Avrocar wasn’t the […]

This Week in Universal News: Introducing the Boeing 747, 1966

This week in 1966, Boeing introduced the world to the 747, the first jumbo jet. Today, production of the 747 is winding down, but when it first debuted with commercial airlines in 1970, the double-decker represented both scale of economy and the lap of luxury for those fortunate enough to travel in first class. Even […]

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