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Smithsonian Exhibition

William H. Martin

Mr. Martin sought to obtain a motor for his plane and wrote to F.S. Lahm, noted Canton balloonist, then living in Paris. In a letter from Paris, dated March 15, 1909, Mr. Lahm told him that the only successful motor then on the market was exorbitantly priced and advised that a smaller one was to be produced soon. Some used motors were obtainable, but were unreliable.

In 1936 Dennis R. Smith, when returning from a marble tournament, stopped in at the Smithsonian Institution and saw the Martin plane on display beside Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis.

When he returned to Canton he met William H. Martin on the street and reported seeing his plane at the Smithsonian. Mr. Martin, then an old man of 81, with long white whiskers, and gentle and quiet spoken in manner, had the happiest moment of his life when he knew that his contributions to air pioneering had been memorialized by the preservation of his machine. His patent had run out in 1926, and he took additional satisfaction in knowing that the invention which he had patented was free for the use of all mankind.

When he died, Mr. Martin's funeral had to be postponed, as international travelers wished to pay their respects to this gentleman who had the courage to stay with his convictions...

"Resolved that man will fly." And indeed he did, and so do we because of our aeronautical pioneers.

William H. Martin's funeral caravan stretched for five miles...

The End


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