Here’s a snippet of what modeling was like for the model airplane pioneers 100 years ago, in poem form. Hopefully, this puts you in the mood for #FantasyFreeFlight, starting next week!
“A Conversation Between A Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady”
By Arthur Elton Nealy
Lady- Little Boy, what is that which you have in your hand?
Boy- A model flying machine.
Lady- A wee, baby aeroplane; goodness me! It’s something I never have seen.
In the sky
Little boy, will it fly?
Boy- O, way out of sight when the wind is just right and the rubbers are wound good and strong.
Lady- Well, who’d have thought such a contraption could be! Now, how do you push it along?
Boy- In the air.
Lady- But where?
Boy- Those propellers right there.
Lady- What? They make it go!
Then how do you know
That you won’t fall down and be killed?
Boy- Well, Miss,
It’s like this;
As it won’t lift me up, you see, I will never be spilled.
Lady- What! Won’t lift you up! You said it would fly,
O, every so high
Little boy, are you joking or telling a lie?
Boy- Well it can!
But a span
Of a foot and half is not meant for a man.
Lady- Then who does the steering, and where does he sit? My goodness! A flyer must have lots of grit.
Boy- But Miss!
Is a model. Gee Whiz!
Lady- I see, it’s a toy
Made for some little boy.
Boy- No, no. Not a toy!
But a model! (Oh, Joy!)
Lady- My dear,
Rather peevish, I fear.
But nowadays the urchins are all of ‘em spoiled.
Ah, things were so different when I was a child!
What is that?
Boy- A winder. (Old cat!)
Lady- Well, now, will you wind it and fly it for me?
Boy- Yes, Yes, if you’ll hold it a minute, I’ll see.
(Hands propellers to lady and starts winding)
These bands are the motors, you see how the wrap
Around tighter and tight – and sometimes go SNAP!
Lady- Oh! Ow!
Boy- That’s how
The motor back-fires. Here, take it again.
Lady– My goodness, no, sonny – t’was bad enough then.
Credit: Nealy, Arthur E. “A Conversation Between a Model Boy and a Passing Old Lady.” Aerial Age Weekly, April 12, 1915, pg. 91.
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