Smithsonian Institution

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The Smithsonian Institution is an American scientific body which fostered the development of aeronautic and aviation in various ways. Samuel Pierpont Langley became its secretary in 1887.

In 1849 Smithsonian initiated a North American meteorology project, which waned after the Civil War and was supplanted by the formation of the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1870.[1]

In 1861 its assistance was requested in planning for a trans-Atlantic balloon flight. In 1863 it published two papers on aeronautics, one a translation from Francis Arago entitled "Aeronautical Voyages Performed with a View to the Advancement of Science", the other an account of ascents by James Glaisher.[2]

In 1910 the Smithsonian's Paul Brockett published a comprehensive bibliography on aeronautics and aviation.

In 1917, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and the Aircraft Production Board initiated an exhibit of aircraft materials at the Smithsonian. "A building to house the exhibit is now being constructed by the Government south of the Smithsonian Institution, and the display will be made available to all aircraft manufacturers and kept up to date as the science develops. It is expected to be of very material assistance to the new aircraft building project in that it will enable American manufacturers to become familiar with the latest developments in the art."[3]

The Annual report of the Commissioner of Patents for the year 1913 should be handy to us. Upon quick examination, p. 685 seems to be a good tentative starting point.


  1. Canning, 2012, Forecasting the Future, p. 5.
  2. Brockett 1910, p. v.
  3. "Aircraft to be Exhibited at Smithsonian Institution", Air Service Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1., July 12, 1917, p. 25.

Organization names Smithsonian Institution; Smithsonian
Entity type
Country US
City Washington, DC
Affiliated with
Scope National
Started aero 1849
Ended aero
Key people Samuel Pierpont Langley, Paul Brockett
Wikidata id