Lincoln J. Beachey (March 3, 1887 – March 14, 1915)
In the early 20th century, aviator Lincoln Beachey and his Curtis biplane amazed and delighted crowds with the “Dip of Death” and his mastery of “looping the loop.” Or by daring to fly upside down, which on one occasion shook $300 from his pocket and led him to quip,
I am willing to take a chance of losing my life flying upside down but it’s certainly tough to be torn loose from my bank roll, too.1
A groundbreaking aviator and breathtaking stuntman, he could boast of having performed for over 20 million spectators, or about one fifth of the U.S. population at the time. Yet 100 years later his name is largely unknown.
One of the joys of browsing American historical newspapers is discovering the unexpected from around the world. Take this photograph, for example, of a car being dragged across a Siberian river during the Peking-to-Paris race in 1907: