The September 1, 1896 San Francisco Call (San Francisco, CA) ran this image of inventor Dr. C. A. Smith's flying machine. Apparently Smith had a model of his airship propped up on two stools in a shop on Market Street in San Francisco. The functional version of the machine was to be 105 feet in length and have a capacity of nearly 90,000 cubic feet of hydrogen.
It looks just like the business end of a rocket. It has a conical point, a round body and at the rear end a brass fan whirrs lustily every time a live wire is hitched on to the electric motor in the interior of the concern. Two wings, like those of a beetle, rise and fall from the top of the cylinder, and a few small windows and three rudders make up the latest of flying machines. [continue reading here]
Previously on Paleo-Future: