Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Frederick Marriott (1805-1884)

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Frederick Marriott (1805-1884), was an early aviation pioneer and creator of the Avitor Hermes Jr. which was the first unmanned aircraft to fly under its own power in the United States.

Marriott is given credit for coining the term "aeroplane," and intended to build an air transport system that would bring people from New York to California without the perils of the normal voyage particularly of the 19th century. The company he formed (with Andrew Smith Hallidie) in 1866 was called the Aerial Steam Navigation Company.

Marriott was described as "an English gentlemen, of eccentric habits, much shrewdness and enterprise, and entire originality" by the publisher of the Northern Indianian on March 19, 1874.

1805 July 16th. Born in Enfield the son of John William Marriott and his wife Mary Anne Searles

1833 September 23rd. Married(1) Mary Ann Gibbons

1841 In London, England, Marriott was one of three board members of the Aerial Transit Co along with John Stringfellow and William Samuel Henson. Marriott was responsible for the illustrations and publicity campaign for their planned airship the "Ariel". The airplane captured the imagination of the public and the company constructed and flew a small glider, but after a failure to build a larger working model and lacking funds, the company failed.

1842 Emigrated to the USA

1849 Marriott moved to California during the Gold Rush.

1853 Married(2) to Jemima Crowder

1869 'Hermes Avitor Jr.' was built in the basement of the publishing building largely by candlelight and was flown at Shellmound Park racetrack. According to a Scientific American journalist (July 31, 1869) the aircraft took about 6 minutes to fill with hydrogen and flew at about 5 miles per hour. On a subsequent flight, however, the aircraft burned completely and was lost. A replica of the craft is displayed at the Hiller Aviation Museum. This was not a manned craft.

The 1869 stock market crash stymied Marriott's efforts to fly a lighter-than-air craft, although he did continue to work on a heavier-than-air triplane all the way until his death. John Joseph Montgomery was inspired by these experiments.[6] Two years before Marriott's death, in 1882, the Aerial Steam Navigation Company was refinanced, and Augustus Laver, architect of The James C. Flood Mansion and The Ellen Kenna House, was named Consulting Engineer of the company.

1884 December 16th. Died in San Francisco.

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