Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Around the world in 175 days!

In 1922, The United States Army Air Service turned to Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica as a souce for an aircraft that could fly around the world. They were especially interested in Davis-Douglas' Cloudster. Donald Douglas, with the help of John Northrup, began modifications to the DT-2, which they believed sturdier than the Cloudster, primarily to increase fuel capacity. Four planes, named the Seattle, New Orleans, Chicago and Boston left from Clover Field on March 17, 1924 for Seattle. The plane, Seattle needed repairs and crashed in Alaska early in the trip. The three other aircraft completed the round-the-world flight through Asia, the Middle East and Europe, before returning to Washington D.C., Seattle and home to Santa Monica. The journey was through the northern hemisphere and covered almost 29,000 miles in 175 days.

The top photograph from 1924 depicts preparation for the round-the-world flight. The second photograph shows take off day in Santa Monica. These images are viewable in Imagine Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Public Library's digital image archive. Additional information about the flight, aircraft and Douglas Aircraft is in Flight plan for tomorrow : The Douglas story - a condensed history by Crosby Maynard, Public Relations Department with Douglas Aircraft from 1962. Another book in the local history collection is McDonnell Douglas, Vol. 1 by Rene J. Francillon, c1978, 1988.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

DC 3

Design of the DC 3 by Dougals Aircraft Corporation in Santa Monica began in 1934 at the behest of American Airlines which wanted two new aircraft. One to carry more day passengers and one with sleeping berths, for overnight travel. The DC 3 was believed by many to be one of the best airlines of all times. The DC 3 made air travel possible for people before and after World War II and profitable for commercial airlines. Over 10,000 DC 3's were built as transport aircraft during the war. More information about this remarkable aircraft is available in The plane that changed the world: A biography of the DC-3 by Dougals J. Ingells, published in 1966, available at the Santa Monica Public Library.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Remember Henshey's?

How many of us recall the amazing pneumatic transit tubes that would shoot money in a cylindrical container overhead somewhere else in the store, then return with your change? The first department store in Santa Monica, founded by Harry C. Henshey, was originially called Henshey's, Van Antwerp & Murdoch's. The building was designed by Charles A. Tegner and located at 400 Santa Monica Blvd. This building was demolished in the 1990s and the location is currently occupied by REI Sporting Goods. A Henshey's department store was located in Ladera Heights for a short time. The photos shown are from the Santa Monica Image Archives date from 1926 or 1927.