Thomas Scott Baldwin

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Thomas Scott Baldwin at the controls of an airplane, 1910
Thomas Scott Baldwin

Thomas Scott Baldwin (born June 30, 1854 in Marion , Harrison County , Missouri , † May 17, 1923 ) was an American balloonist and aviation pioneer .


Baldwin developed the USA's first dirigible airship , the California Arrow , in 1904 . (First trip July 29, 1904, first public trip: August 3, 1904). He used hydrogen as the lifting gas . Baldwin was able to achieve some commercial success with his airships. By 1908 he had sold about ten airships, they were equipped with Glenn Curtiss engines.

In 1908 he managed to get an order from the US armed forces . The Signal Corps Airship No. 1 (SC-1) ascended for the first time for seven minutes on August 4, 1908. The following day the successful acceptance test for the military took place. The airship was powered by a water-cooled 24 hp four-cylinder engine developed by Curtiss and the first of its kind.

Up until 1914, Baldwin was also involved in the construction of aircraft. Then he turned back to the airships. The construction of DN-1 , the first US naval airship in 1917, goes back to him.

His last job was with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company as a balloon and airship designer.

Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin died on May 17, 1923 at the age of 69. His grave is in Arlington National Cemetery . Baldwin Peak in Antarctica has been named in his honor since 1960 .