Charles Dellschau: Anti-gravity fuel and the adventures of the Sonora Aero Club

Fascinating piece from Obelisk Art History about the life of Charles Dellschau, specifically his years spent as scribe for the Sonora Aero Club. Dellschau’s drawings themselves are beautiful, the use of the color red is especially arresting.

But more than 40 years laters, a junk dealer uncovers 12 ragged notebooks, bound with shoelaces, from a trash heap outside of the Dellschau family home. The notebooks change hands, sold to a furniture dealer, then finally the art history student Mary Jane Victor.

The 12 notebooks were created by Charles Dellschau between 1908 and 1921, and document the invention of an anti-gravity fuel called NB Gas by a secret society of aviators known as the Sonora Aero Club. Containing more than 2,500 drawings of flying machines, the diaries piece together newspaper clippings, diagrams and coded language.

Dellschau’s notebooks recount his time living in a boardingding house from 1854 to 1859, when his neighbors included members of the Sonora Aero Club. The club appointed Dellschau as their scribe, and he narrates the group’s activities in extraordinary detail — describing many members by name. Peter Mennis, who’s “Aero Goosey” was among the group’s most successful crafts, Tosh Wilson, Louis Caro, and Jacob Mischer — who’s plan to sell the plans for his airship ended in the sabotage and fiery crash of his own craft.

Read more

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.