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Comments Posted 07.25.09 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Mark Lamster

Blriot! The Centennial of a Historic Flight


bleriot

A century ago today, the French industrialist/inventor/daredevil Louis Blriot took off in an airplane of his own invention—really, more like a moped with wings—flying across the English Channel from Calais to Dover. It was the first crossing of the Channel by air, and won him a prize of £1000 from the London Daily Mail, not that he needed the money. It was the first crossing of any major body of water and across international lines. Blriot was the French Wright and Lindbergh all rolled into one. He made a fortune building automotive headlights, then turned his attention to aviation. He became a leading manufacturer of airplanes in the years after the crossing, which was celebrated as a heroic event at the time. He barely made it across in his rickety contraption. Afterward, he was regularly featured an advertisements for cigars and other products. Bravo Blriot on the centennial of your historic day! An honor to have you on our wall.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. A contributing editor to Architectural Review, he is currently at work on his third book, a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Follow: @marklamster.
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