the Baldwin Dirigible
Captain Thomas S. Baldwin
at Newport News, 1916
Dirigible No. 1 in hangar at Fort
The Baldwin dirigible in flight.
During the summer of
1908, the U.S. Army tested the Baldwin dirigible. Lts. Lahm, Selfridge
and Foulois flew the dirigible. Thomas Baldwin was appointed by the
United States Government to superintend the building of all spherical,
dirigible and kite balloons. He built the first Government airship in
1908. An American inventor Thomas Baldwin built a 53-foot airship, the
California Arrow. It won a one-mile race in October 1904, at the St.
Louis World Fair with Roy Knabenshue at the controls. In 1908, Baldwin
sold the U.S. Army Signal Corps an improved dirigible that was powered
by a 20-horsepower Curtiss engine. This machine, designated the SC-1,
was the Army's first powered aircraft.