San Francisco, California, 1908
Dr. Brad Muller, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Frederick A. Muller (my
grandfather), age 14, getting ready to test his homebuilt
West Clay Park in San Francisco in 1908. San Francisco has
wind and, in those days, plenty of sand dunes on which to
attempt a flight. We had heard the family lore about
Grandpa Fred building a glider, but these pictures were found
in a box of old family photos
long after he died in 1964, so we never got to ask him whether
got off the ground; obviously, whatever happened with the
did live to have children and grandchildren! This picture
appears to be
posed with several members of the crowd holding up the glider
his feet are off the ground.
Back then, flying was rare
that anything to do with the brand new field of aviation drew
crowd in their Sunday best.
My grandfather liked to build
things. He was not exactly
an aeronautical engineer, but he tried to copy some of what he
in pictures of the Wright Flyer.
Fred Muller (left), age 14,
unknown helper. Back then San Francisco was a lot
less crowded: you could park your glider on the street and
Fred was good at mechanical
and later became a theater projectionist, a job that at that
time required rapid mechanical troubleshooting under
pressure. He would routinely take
his car apart in the morning for repairs, then put it
together in time to get to work in the afternoon for his job
Regarding this glider, the
aeronautical engineers we have talked to wonder if the
wingspan was big
enough to get him off the ground and fly. But
he was a pretty skinny kid, and the family
lore is that a very short flight indeed was made. Of
course, we'll never know...
Acknowledgments to my brother, Randy Muller, for
photos, scanning them, them supplying related information.
All contents of this page
© 2010 by Bradley M. Muller.