Thursday, July 3, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 149

Rooftop flight re-enactment

Ford Depot Hack & 1932 WACO UBF Airplane

One of the places we visited on the recent trip to the Columbia Gorge in Oregon was the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River.  It is a huge hanger filled with restored cars and planes and a few motorcycles as well.  As usual I picked up several postcards including the two shared today. 

The upper card shows a re-enactment of the 1912 Rooftop Flight and was performed by Tom Murphy in an early Curtiss Pusher replica off the roof of the Multnomah hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon.  The original stunt was by Silas Christopherson and took place on the same rooftop.  All the planes, cars, motorcycles and other vehicles in the museum are in working condition and are tested monthly. 

The Curtiss Pusher was an airplane introduced in 1911 that had the engine and propeller behind the pilot’s seat.  It was one of the first planes to be built in any quantity.  It was a biplane (double wings) and had a wheeled tricycle undercarriage.  It was also the first plane that could takeoff and land on the deck of a ship.  It was mostly constructed of wood and used ailerons thus avoiding the wing patent restrictions established by the Wright brothers.

The lower card has both a 1914 Model T Depot Hack and a 1932 WACO UBF airplane.  The planes and cars in the museum are in beautiful restored condition for the most part but there are also examples of what they looked like before restoration so one can get an idea of the amount of time and effort is needed to put them back into mint condition. 

I wondered why the car was called a Depot Hack and found an article about the “Short History of Station Wagons in the USA” on-line (see link below).  The first station wagons were called Depot Hacks because they were used around train depots as taxicabs or hacks.  They were slightly larger than regular cars and had space for passengers and luggage so they were hired to carry people and cargo to and from railroad stations.  In 1910 Ford began selling just the chassis to independent manufacturers who added a wooden wagon body to make the Depot Hack.  The price was $700.  A few years later Ford began making the complete vehicle this way also.  The term station wagon had replaced “depot hack” by 1929.

The beautifully restored 1932 blue WACO UBF airplane was one of those built in Troy Ohio.  The Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio later to become Waco Aircraft Company built planes between 1919 and 1947.  This same company made large numbers of military gliders for both the RAF and the US Army Air Forces during World War II. 

For additional information see

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