The problem of ærial propulsion solved

In the venerable tradition of lazyblogging, here is a storified version of an exchange of tweets today between myself and @TroveAustralia, concerning an apparently forgotten Australian aviation pioneer, W. T. Carter of Williamstown, formerly a member of the Victorian colonial legislature. In the mid-1890s, Carter dabbled in electric motors (with help from A. U. Alcock, who has been credited with inventing an ancestor of the hovercraft) and propellors (later patenting one in Britain), and seems in 1894 to have successfully demonstrated a flying model, a small drum-shaped object with two propellors at each end. Long after his death it was claimed that he had actually built and flown an aeroplane at Maidstone, a western suburb of Melbourne, again in the mid-1890s, but it's hard to believe this could have escaped the attention of the press (especially given his evident interest in self-promotion).

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