Henry Farman

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Henri Farman aka Henry Farman (d. 1958) was an Anglo-French aero inventor and entrepreneur.

His father was journalist T. F. Farman, who wrote about aviation.[1] T. F. Farman was Paris correspondent for British papers The Standard and The Tribune; his children, born in France, claimed British nationality.[2]

The Farman brothers went into business as mechanics as Farman Frères, running the Palais de l'Automobile, the biggest garage in Paris. Henry came third in the 1903 Gordon Bennett auto race in Ireland. In 1907 he got into aviation and bought an engine from Gabriel Voisin. On 26 October 1907 he broke the 1906 distance record of Alberto Santos-Dumont with a flight of 771 meters. On 13 January 1908 he won the Deutsch-Archdeacon prize flying his "Voisin-Farman"-type airplane in a 1km circle at Issy-les-Moulineaux, with an Aéro-Club de France committee in attendance.[2][3]

In the summer of 1908, Farman traveled to America, including New York and St. Louis, to make a series of exhibition flights. The Aero Club of America held a reception for him at the Hotel Astor in New York on 30 July and the flights were scheduled for 1–15 August. Notable people including Albert Francis Zahm and James Allen spoke at the reception.[4]

Flying the Farman 3, an aeroplane of his own design, Henry Farman won the Reims International Air Meet in August 1909 and within the next 12 months he had sold about 100 Farman 3s. In January 1912, after having built these and several other designs in his own factory, Henry, using the French name Henri, joined his brother Maurice, who had his own factory, in opening a joint factory that swiftly became the largest aircraft factory in France.

Farman went on to open a flying school at Mourmelon. Then he went into business with his brother as Avions Henri et Maurice Farman. They were successful during World War I and hired engineer Charles Waseige. Their business was nationalized in the '30s.[2]


  1. Brett Holman. Interdependent and inseparable — II. Airminded, 30 June 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 W. F. Bradley, "Henry Farman—An Appreciation", Flight Vol. 74, No. 2584; 1 August 1958, p. 158.

    "It was not until just before the First World War that the three men, at different dates, became naturalized Frenchmen. [Mr. C. H. Gibbs-Smith's researches have shown that Henry Farman did not, in fact, acquire French nationality until 1937.—Ed.]"

  3. Zahm, 1911, Aerial Navigation, p. 259.
  4. "Farman in America", Aeronautics, Vol. 3, No. 2, August 1908, p. 8.

Patents whose inventor or applicant is Henry Farman

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Letters received by Henry Farman


Names Henry Farman; Henri Farman
Birth date 1874-05-26
Death date 1958-07-17
Countries FR, GB
Locations département Seine), France
Occupations Engineer, Entrepreneur
Tech areas Frame, Construction, Design, Springs, Hinges, Cables
Wikidata id Q22401