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The William H. Martin 1886 Monoplane

William H. Martin in his monoplane, with Almina P. Martin in the car
Had William H. Martin of Canton, Ohio, been able to finance the installation of a motor in an airplane he built in 1909 the world would probably have flocked to his farm on the Harrisburg Rd. when he died in March, 1937. For this monoplane was the first of its type in the world, and made many successful flights when towed by a horse or a Ford car. The inventor knew his aerodynamics, and his plane embodied principles of safety that have been generally adopted in plane construction. Yet no previous history of Stark County has recorded the flights or the invention. John Lehman, in his History of Stark County published in 1916, has a detailed biography of William H. Martin, but not a word about his chief claim to fame. Twenty years after the plane was built, patented and successfully flown, Mr. Martin offered it to the Smithsonian Institution. After long and careful investigation the Smithsonian institution accepted it as being the first plane of its type, and put it on display next to Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis."

When Harry Renkert organized the Canton Aviation Co. in 1938, and acquired the land for the airport, he named it Martin Field in honor of William H. Martin, whose farm adjoined the field. At the time Mr. Martin died, Dennis R.Smith wrote a feature story for the Repository Sunday issue of March 28, 1937, which gave an excellent and full account of the flights. This has been supplemented in the following account with information from the son, Charles C. Martin, Ray Miller at the Martin Airport, and checked with Harry Renkert, Leon Sherrick and others.

The Early Days >>

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