LOUDONVILLE -- Before Kettering and Flxible's rise to fame that put Loudonville on the map, another inventor and businessman attempted to leave his mark on the world by building an empire in his hometown.
In 1907 Dr. Cyrus L. Buckwalter, a Civil War veteran and Loudonville resident, filed a patent for an "airship" that he expected would make the Wright Brothers mere footnotes in the history of aviation. Buckwalter's design was unique, to say the least, appearing to resemble a boat complete with rudder and flaps that created lift.
According to newspapers at the time, Buckwalter successfully tested the design on numerous occasions -- including in the presence of mechanical experts who gave their approval, and perfected his design over a number of years.
According to the reports, Buckwalter's ships could travel at speeds of 100 miles per hour and be maneuvered to suit the pleasure of the occupants at such speeds.
In November of 1907, Buckwalter made national, front-page news when his company, Buckwalter Airship Company, became the first to receive a charter to establish a passenger service. Buckwalter Airship Company planned to regularly carry passengers between cities, although the articles of incorporation did not specify which cities the passenger service would connect.
In addition to the passenger line, Buckwalter was to set up a manufacturing facility that would not only build the ships for his passenger line but also sell them on the market, for a mere $750 each (approximately $18,500 today).
Aside from the patents and later articles announcing Buckwalter receiving the charter to begin passenger service, little is known of his airships (including if they were even truly functional) or passenger service, except that Dr. Buckwalter passed a few years later in 1911.
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