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History of S-24 SS-129 - History

History of S-24 SS-129 - History

S-24 SS-129


(SS-129: dp. 854 (surf.), 1,062 (subm.); 1. 219'3"; b. 20'8"; dr. 15'11"; s. 14.5 k. (surf.), 11 k. (subm.);cpl. 42; a. 4 21" tt., 1 4"; cl. S-1)

S-24 (SS-129) was laid down on 1 November 1918 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Quincy, Mass.

Launched on 27 June 1922, sponsored by Mrs. Herbert B. Loper; and commissioned on 24 August 1923, Lt. Comdr. Louis E. Denfeld in command.

Operating from New London, Conn., in 1923 and 1924, S-24 served at St. Thomas Virgin Islands, in February 1924. She visited Trinidad from 6 to 13 March, the Panama Canal area in April of that year and Hawaii from 27 April to May 1925. Next, into 1930, she served principally at San Diego, San Pedro, and Mare Island. In addition to service in the Panama Canal area in February and March 1926 and again in February 1929, S-24 visited Hawaii in 1927 and 1928 and twice in 1929. Sailing from San Diego on 1 December 1930, she arrived at Pearl Harbor on the 12th. From then into 1938 S-24 operated at Pearl Harbor. Departing from Pearl Harbor on 15 October, she returned to New London on 4 January 1939.

After serving with a partial crew at New London from 1 April of that year, S-24 resumed full duty on 1 July 1940. Following duty out of New London during that year and into 1941, S-24 served next in waters near the Panama Canal from late December into May 1942. Returning to New London on the 21st, S-24 decommissioned there on 10 August 1942, and was transferred on that date to the United Kingdom, in whose navy she became HMS P. 555. Returned to the U.S. Navy at the end of the war in Europe, S-24 was struck from the Navy list and was intentionally destroyed on 25 August 1947.

USS S-26 (SS-131)

USS S-26 (SS-131) was an S-class submarine of the United States Navy. She was lost in a collision with a friendly escort ship in February 1942.

  • 854 long tons (868 t) surfaced
  • 1,062 long tons (1,079 t) submerged
  • 14.5 kn (16.7 mph 26.9 km/h) surfaced
  • 11 kn (13 mph 20 km/h) submerged
  • 1 × 4 in (100 mm)/50 deck gun
  • 4 × 21 inch (533 mm)torpedo tubes

Medal of Honor Recipient Samuel Dealey

Samuel David Dealey was born in Dallas, Texas, on 13 September 1906. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1930 and was subsequently commissioned as an ensign. He served aboard several surface ships and was promoted to lieutenant (jg) before reporting, in the summer of 1934, to Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut. After graduation he was assigned to several subs in quick succession: USS S-34 (SS-139), USS S-24 (SS-129), USS NAUTILUS (SS-168), and USS BASS (SS-164). Then he was off to Pensacola Naval Air Station and another surface vessel before returning to submarines as Commanding Officer of USS S-20 (SS-125), where he remained for two years.

When war broke out, Dealey, now a lieutenant, was pulled from the aging S-20 and given the brand-new USS HARDER (SS-257). Although he turned out to be an incredibly successful skipper, it was for actions undertaken during the boat’s fifth war patrol that he was awarded the Medal of Honor. His citation reads as follows:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Harder during her 5th War Patrol in Japanese-controlled waters. Floodlit by a bright moon and disclosed to an enemy destroyer escort which bore down with intent to attack, Comdr. Dealey quickly dived to periscope depth and waited for the pursuer to close range, then opened fire, sending the target and all aboard down in flames with his third torpedo. Plunging deep to avoid fierce depth charges, he again surfaced and, within 9 minutes after sighting another destroyer, had sent the enemy down tail first with a hit directly amidship. Evading detection, he penetrated the confined waters off Tawi Tawi with the Japanese Fleet base 6 miles away and scored death blows on 2 patrolling destroyers in quick succession. With his ship heeled over by concussion from the first exploding target and the second vessel nose-diving in a blinding detonation, he cleared the area at high speed. Sighted by a large hostile fleet force on the following day, he swung his bow toward the lead destroyer for another ‘down-the-throat’ shot, fired 3 bow tubes and promptly crash- dived to be terrifically rocked seconds later by the exploding ship as the Harder passed beneath. This remarkable record of 5 vital Japanese destroyers sunk in 5 short-range torpedo attacks attests the valiant fighting spirit of Comdr. Dealey and his indomitable command.”

The patrol was characterized as “epoch-making” and “magnificent” and helped to earn Dealey his nickname: “Destroyer Killer.”

When the boat returned to port, Admiral Ralph Christie met with Dealey and encouraged him to move on Dealey, however, knew that a third of the crew was about to rotate out and didn’t want to leave a new C.O. with such a green group. He asked for one final patrol. Christie allowed him to go.

24 August 1944 found HARDER and USS HAKE (SS-256) just outside Dasol Bay, which lies on the western coast of the Philippine island of Luzon. They were waiting to see if the Japanese would chance putting a recently injured destroyer to sea. At 0600 two ships made their way out of the bay, a minesweeper and an ancient Thai destroyer. Dealey offered HAKE first crack, although she eventually broke away when the destroyer returned to port. By the time HAKE attempted to rendezvous with HARDER, both she and the minesweeper were gone. HAKE’s C.O., Frank Haylor, recalls catching a glimpse of his sister sub’s periscope at 0647—and then hearing a string of fifteen depth charges explode at 0728. It never occurred to him that the great Sam Dealey could have been taken out by something so mundane, but as the days stretched into weeks and nothing was heard from HARDER, Haylor was forced to reconsider. (Japanese records examined after the war confirmed that the minesweeper’s attack had, in fact, succeeded.) Finally, on 10 September, the C.O. of another boat who had been keeping watch for her sent a message to Admiral Christie: “I MUST HAVE TO THINK HE IS GONE.” Christie was devastated. “The most ghastly, tragic news we could possibly receive,” he wrote in his diary. “We can’t bear this one.”

When the dust settled after the war, it was determined that Dealey had been responsible for the destruction of 16 enemy vessels (54,002 tons), including four destroyers and two frigates. The totals put him fifth on the list of top-scoring U.S. submarine commanding officers. His Medal of Honor was presented to his wife in 1945 and the destroyer escort USS DEALEY (DE-1006) was named in his honor.

Dealey himself remains on eternal patrol with the other 79 members of HARDER’s crew.

Medal of Honor Recipient CAPT Cromwell – April 2014

Captain John Philip Cromwell was born on September 11, 1901, in Henry, Illinois. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1920. Upon graduating in 1924, Cromwell served two years with the surface fleet, aboard the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46). In 1926 he attended Submarine School and was assigned to the USS-S-24 (SS-129). Cromwell subsequently served on a number of shore commands, including as Staff Commander SUBPAC, and SUBDIV 203 & 44. He was also assigned commands on a number of submarines including the USS S-20 (SS-125).

On November 5th, 1943 Cromwell, now a Captain, was briefed on a new operation called GALVANIC, which outlined the invasion of Tarawa. As a high-ranking officer, he was entrusted with the knowledge of GALVANIC, as well as the understanding that the Japanese Naval shipping code had been cracked by naval code breakers. Captain Cromwell was cautioned not to let this information fall into the hands of the enemy, even in the event of capture. Cromwell understood his orders.

As part of GALVANIC, Captain Cromwell was shipped aboard the USS SCULPIN just off the island of Truk. Once there, the SCULPIN would be joined by American submarines USS SEARAVEN, SPEARFISH, and APOGON. They would then join forces and fall under the command of Cromwell. Under orders, Cromwell’s fleet was supposed to prohibit any Japanese surface ships’ efforts of reaching Tarawa from their home base of Truk.

While underway to the set meeting point, SCULPIN noted the presence of a Japanese convoy. Commander Fred Connaway, the captain of SCULPIN, ordered an attack approach on the Japanese vessels. During the approach, SCULPIN’s periscope was spotted. In response, the Japanese sent their destroyer, the Yamagumo, to investigate. CDR Connaway aborted the approach and called for the SCULPIN to dive deep in an effort to avoid further detection.

Later in the evening CDR Connaway made the fateful decision to surface and make a high-speed “end-run” in an effort to catch up with the Japanese convoy. Unfortunately for Connaway, the Yamagumo was waiting for the SCULPIN. CDR Connaway ordered the SCULPIN to crash dive, as the Japanese prepared its depth charge run.

When the depth charge attack had finished, Connaway ordered the SCULPIN up to periscope depth, but due to the damage suffered to the depth gauge during the attack, SCULPIN errantly broke surface near Yamagumo. CDR Connaway frantically attempted to dive, but additional damage suffered to the pressure hull, rendered it unable to dive. Yamagumo took this opportunity to continue its relentless attack. One round struck the bridge, killing CDR Connaway and his bridge crew.

Lieutenant G.E. Brown, the engineering officer, finding himself suddenly in command, called for all hands to abandon ship. Captain Cromwell, remembering his duty, told LT Brown, “I can’t go with you. I know too much.”

Captain John Philip Cromwell remained on the SCULPIN, alone, as she made her final descent to the bottom. His heroics led to his being awarded the Medal of Honor. Captain Cromwell was the highest ranking officer to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II.

The United States' S-class submarines, often simply called S-boats (sometimes "Sugar" boats, after the then contemporary Navy phonetic alphabet for "S"), were the first class of submarines with a significant number built to United States Navy designs.

The 4"/50 caliber gun (spoken "four-inch-fifty-caliber") was the standard low-angle, quick-firing gun for United States, first appearing on the monitor and then used on "Flush Deck" destroyers through World War I and the 1920s.

S-24 (SS-129)

Decommissioned 10 August 1942.
Transferred to the United Kingdom and commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS P 555 the same day.
Returned to the U.S.N. and destroyed, 25 August 1947 at the Portland Naval Base, U.K.

Commands listed for USS S-24 (129)

Please note that we're still working on this section.

1Robert Henry Rice, USNFeb 1939May 1940
2Willard Arthur Saunders, USNMay 1940Mar 1941
3Lt. Charles Herbert Andrews, USNMar 1941Nov 1941
4Lt. John Corbus, USNNov 194110 Aug 1942

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Notable events involving S-24 include:

8 May 1942
USS S-24 departed Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone for New London, Connecticut.

21 May 1942
USS S-24 arrived at New London, Connecticut from Coco Solo, Panama Canal Zone.

Media links

U. S. Submarines in World War II
Kimmett, Larry and Regis, Margaret

Review: The brash, profane, funny, infuriating, high-flying first chapter of Taylor Mac’s ’24-Decade History’

If America were ready for a drag queen president — stranger things have happened — there is no question that Taylor Mac would be the one to come up with history’s most astutely outrageous, and most outrageously astute, version of “Hail to the Chief.”

Mac also could turn into a dictator. So be it. I’d vote Mac.

The performance artist’s crowd control skills are second to none. “What I’m going to ask you to do is going to go on longer than you want it to,” was how Mac prefaced the earliest instruction gave given to the audience in the first of four six-hour chapters of “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Thursday night.

“We want you to be uncomfortable,” Mac continued, telling the audience to stand, wave hands in the air and wiggle hips ridiculously. It got much worse. At times, I was ready to kill Mac. The entitlement!

But drag-queen entitlement is, without question, uniquely entertaining when in the hands (and all the other anatomical parts) of Mac, its greatest theatrical master. Extravagantly dressed, from headdress to platform heel toe, this master of disguise completely took us aback with an ability to cut through the bull, even while creating new levels of it.

If you haven’t already heard, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” is ruthlessly punishing, infuriating, alarming, charming, impressive and obsessive like no other music theater. It is also extraordinarily illuminating, if you are willing, without succumbing to silliness, to put up with it. Did I say it is infuriating? Wagner, to whom Mac has some resemblance in the grandiosity department, can be infuriating too. More important, like Wagner, Mac is a sorcerer.

With an hour for each decade from 1776 to the present, and through 246 (!) songs, Mac has set out to exhaustingly examine American history to find out how we got here. The show has no breaks. Mac never stops singing, storytelling, lecturing or emceeing, all the while beguiling and berating the audience. Each decade gets a different elaborate costume and comes with a narrative or historical theme. The heels stay on.

The extravaganza includes a raft of art-installation costumes by the artist who goes by Machine Dazzle a 24-strong band led by the show’s arranger, Matt Ray compelling lighting and staging a troupe of loopy “dandy minions” who hand out drag swag, ping pong balls, blindfolds and whatnot plus guest musicians.

Mac developed the show over several years, tying the decades into longer and longer segments that climaxed into a bragging-rights’ 24-hour performance of the whole shebang in New York two years ago. It was, for those who endured it, said to be an event of a lifetime.

Since then, Mac has done highlight versions (including at UCLA) and the full show broken down into four six-hour chapters. UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance is presenting the L.A. version, presumably the last complete one, at the Ace, where the show is being filmed.

I can’t say exactly what this history is because there are very few expected reference points. Mac calls it a ritual and sacrifice, one that honors the making of history through a queer lens. It distorts, as all lenses do. But it also focuses.

Mac finds our roots in hating Congress, misinterpreting “Common Sense” (initially misreading Thomas Payne’s pamphlet), making things (knitters are seated onstage), loving black hair, forgiving the oppressor and vilifying the outsider. You get the drift. The artist’s structure is to find some unifying aspect of each decade.

Sometimes the songs generate the meaning of a decade. Sometimes Mac strings out a narrative in which the songs fit in, almost like a musical. Songs can be great production numbers or not. They are arranged in musical styles that can be Afrobeat or something suited for Dolly Parton.

Broadway is delightfully dissed, as are a great many other things, sacred and (very) profane. Mac can be an amusing, catty stand-up comic. But the artist is best, by far, when more seriously exposing the bamboozlement of American history.

Mac begins at the beginning with the American Revolution. Little is what we think it is. Add a little context and change the emphasis when singing “Yankee Doodle” — as a singer Mac is more often than not a belter, but with a flair for finding original accents — and “Yankee Doodle” can be understood to be a British put-down of effeminate colonialists and their tacky feathers in their caps.

Turning to the oppression of the housewife, Adam and Eve somehow get referenced. An apple, removed from the crotch of one of Mac’s supporting cast members, is given to a couple of unfortunate audience members to bite — “Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be,” indeed. The temperance movement is upturned by drinking songs and free beer passed out by the dandy minions.

At Mac’s most outlandish, the performer requires the audience to be blindfolded for an hour to experience the senses anew — touch (brush a flower against the face of another audience member), taste (feed a grape to someone near you, you won’t know who), stand up and switch seats by feel.

Unfortunately, the sense that is heightened most is hearing, and Mac loses any hypnotic pull without being seen. The amplification denies the star’s voice its expressive dynamics. The band’s intonation turns annoying. I got vertigo and went to the lobby for a break. (You can come and go during the show.)

With the audience’s sight restored, the decade that follows (and ends the first chapter of “A 24-Decade History”) proves deeply moving. With each decade, a musician leaves the band, which is sad. (By the end next week, Mac will be alone with a ukulele.) The Indian Removal Act is examined in 1826 through 1836, via a narrative around the Trail of Tears. Mac was dressed like a fabulous schoolmarm.

At one point the amplification was turned off, and Mac sounded like a fine singer. In “Turkey in the Straw,” joy turned to anger. Microphones back on, “Banks of the Ohio” became a deceptive toe-tapping finale. But Mac, instead, ended the chapter with lens blurred, in magnificent midsentence, as if the artist’s voice were suddenly taken away in an unutterable trail of tears.

CAPT John P. Cromwell (1943)

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the U.S.S. Sculpin, during the Ninth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk Island, November 19, 1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk. Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese depth-charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive depth, he authorized the Sculpin to surface and engage the enemy in a gun-fight, thereby providing an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship. Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of revealing plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death. Preserving the security of his mission at the cost of his own life, he had served his country as he had served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising devotion to duty. His great moral courage in the face of certain death adds new luster to the traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

John Philip Cromwell was born in Henry, Illinois, on 11 September 1901. Appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1920, he graduated in June 1924 and served initially in the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46). In 1926, he attended submarine school and was assigned to USS S-24 (SS-129) during 1927-29. He next had three year’s diesel engineering instruction, followed by further tours of duty in submarines.

Lieutenant Cromwell commanded USS S-20 (SS-125) in 1936-37, and then served on the staff of Commander Submarine Division 4. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1939 and spent two years in Washington, D.C. with the Bureau of Engineering and Bureau of Ships. In May 1941, he became Engineer Officer for the Pacific Fleet submarine force. During 1942-43, he commanded Submarine Divisions 203, 44 and 43.

Following promotion to Captain, he went to sea in USS Sculpin (SS-191) as prospective commander of a mid-Pacific submarine wolf pack. While attacking a Japanese convoy on 19 November 1943, Sculpin was forced to the surface, fatally damaged in a gun battle and abandoned by her surviving crew members. Captain Cromwell, who knew secret details of the impending operation to capture the Gilbert Islands, deliberately remained on board as she sank. For his sacrificial heroism in preventing the enemy from obtaining this information, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

USS Cromwell (DE-1014), 1954-1973, was named in honor of Captain John P. Cromwell.

Among the worst industrial accidents in America

1. The Pemberton Mill Collapse

On January 10, 1860, a five-story mill on the Lawrence River collapsed in the middle of the work day. 145 workers were killed. Many of the victims were Irish immigrants, including women and children. Investigators determined that the seven-year-old building collapsed because of weak mortar and faulty iron pillars under the floors.

2. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

On March 25, 1911, a small fire started in a scrap bin on the eighth floor. It was 4:30 p.m., and workers were just ending their shifts and collecting their belongings and paychecks. Despite an immediate attempt to control the fire, it quickly spread. This occurred in large part because everything in the building was flammable and in part because the fire hoses installed in the factory did not work. The tragedy left 146 workers dead. The factory owners were put on trial for manslaughter but were found not guilty. The incident did, however, prompt sweeping reforms.

3. The Texas City Disaster

On April 16, 1947, the French-owned SS Grandcamp, which was carrying highly flammable ammonium nitrate, exploded while at port in Texas City, TX. The explosion destroyed the dock and the Monsanto Chemical Company, as well as several other nearby companies, grain storage facilities, and oil and chemical storage facilities. Flying debris caused several fires in the nearby town. The force of the explosion destroyed or severely damaged more than 1,000 buildings in Texas City. The disaster left 576 dead, 178 of whom were never identified. Because the chemicals had come from U.S. ordnance plants, the federal government eventually paid $16.5 million in damage claims. The disaster also instigated reforms in chemical manufacturing and transportation.

4. The Phillips Disaster

On October 23, 1989, another industrial disaster struck Texas. This time, it was in the Houston suburb of Pasadena, when the Phillips 66 Houston Chemical Complex caught fire and exploded. 23 were killed, and 314 injured. The explosion, which was caused when a vapor cloud moved through the polyethylene plant and ignited, registered 3.4 on the Richter scale. The fire took 10 hours to bring under control. Despite increased safety measures in the plant, which is still in operation today, there were subsequent fatalities in 1999 and 2000.

5. West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

The most recent major industrial accident in the U.S. occurred on April 17, 2013. The West Fertilizer Company facility exploded, killing 15, injuring 150, and leaving 160 buildings damaged or destroyed. Investigations are still underway as to the exact cause of the explosion. But, it is well-documented that proper safety regulations were not followed. In a controversial move, President Obama recently reversed his decision not to allot federal aid to the town of West.

These are but a few of the disasters that have befallen American industrial facilities in our nation’s history. Each disaster is a tragedy in its own right. However, every new disaster usually brings about increased safety measures to protect workers and those in the surrounding areas. As well, when corporations are compelled to compensate victims due to a judgment awarded on behalf of the victims, those corporations and others like them tend to search for ways to avoid such loss in the future.

Gene pools and politics

With a bicycle anything seemed possible, and ordinary people set off on extraordinary journeys. In the summer of 1890, for instance, a young lieutenant in the Russian army pedaled from St. Petersburg to London, averaging 70 miles a day. In September 1894, 24-year-old Annie Londonderry set out from Chicago with a change of clothes and a pearl-handled revolver to become the first woman to cycle around the world. Just under a year later she arrived back in Chicago and collected a $10,000 prize.

In Australia, itinerant shearers routinely rode hundreds of miles across the waterless outback looking for work. They set out on these trips as though they were rides in the park, recalled newspaper correspondent C.E.W. Bean in his book On The Wool Track. “He asked his way, lit his pipe, put his leg over his bicycle and shoved off. If he were city bred, as were many shearers, the chances were he started in a black coat and bowler hat, exactly as if he were going to tea at his aunts.”

And in the American West, during the summer of 1897, the U.S. Army’s 25th Regiment—an African-American unit known as the Buffalo Soldiers—made an extraordinary 1,900-mile trek from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri, to demonstrate the usefulness of bicycles to the military. Carrying full kit and carbines and riding over rough, muddy tracks, the Buffalo Soldiers averaged nearly 50 miles a day—twice as fast as a cavalry unit, and at a third the cost.

The advent of the bicycle touched virtually every aspect of life—art, music, literature, fashion, even the human gene pool. Parish records in England show a marked rise in intervillage marriages during the bicycle craze of the 1890s. Newly liberated young people roamed the countryside at will, mingling on the road, meeting up in distant villages, and—as was noted by scowling morals campaigners of the day—often outpacing their older chaperones.

English songwriter Henry Dacre scored a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1892 with Daisy Bell and its famous refrain “a bicycle built for two.” Writer H.G. Wells, an avid cyclist and a shrewd social observer, wrote several “cycling novels,” gentle narratives centered around the romantic, liberating, class-dissolving possibilities of this wonderful new form of transportation.

Wells wasn’t the only visionary who saw a role for the bicycle in shaping the future. “The effect [of bicycles] in the development of cities will be nothing short of revolutionary,” effused a writer in an American sociology magazine in 1892. In an article titled “Economic and Social Influences of the Bicycle,” the writer predicted cleaner, greener, calmer cities with happier, healthier, more outward-looking residents. Thanks to the bicycle, he wrote, young people “see more of the world and are broadened by the contact. While otherwise they would seldom go beyond strolling distance from their homes, on the bicycle they are constantly roaming through many surrounding towns, becoming familiar with whole counties and in vacation time, not infrequently exploring several states. Such experiences produce growth in energy, self-reliance and independence in character….”

The political clout of millions of cyclists and one of the nation’s biggest industries led to rapid improvements in city streets and country roads as cyclists literally paved the way for the yet unforeseen age of the automobile. Brooklyn opened one of the nation’s first dedicated cycle paths in 1895, a route from Prospect Park to Coney Island. Some 10,000 cyclists used it the first day. Two years later New York City enacted the nation’s first traffic code in response to a growing number of “scorchers”—speed demon cyclists. The city’s police commissioner, Teddy Roosevelt, introduced bicycle-mounted policemen who could apprehend the speedsters, for the people’s nag was still the fastest thing on the road. (This Colombian city bans cars every Sunday—and cyclists love it.)

But not for much longer. Before the decade was out tinkerers in the bicycle trade on both sides of the Atlantic had worked out that spoke-tension wheels, chain drives, and ball bearings could be combined with motors to make even swifter vehicles—not as quiet as the bicycle nor as cheap to operate, but fun to drive and profitable to make. In Dayton, Ohio, two bicycle mechanics—brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright—were exploring the idea of a heavier-than-air flying machine, strapping wings to bicycles to test aerodynamic possibilities, and funding their research with profits from their bike shop.

Back in the northern England town of Coventry, James Kemp Starley, whose Rover safety bicycle started it all in the 1880s, died suddenly in 1901 at age 46. By then his company was moving on from the humble bicycle to produce motorcycles and eventually automobiles. It seemed the way of the future: Over in America, another former bicycle mechanic named Henry Ford was doing rather well at it.

Watch the video: Today in History. September 24 (January 2022).