Nova Scotia Archives

J.A.D. McCurdy

and the Silver Dart: Canada's 'First Aerial Navigator'


Opening of the Tetrahedral Tower, Beinn Breagh, Baddeck

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Group includes Alexander Graham Bell, Melville Grosvenor, Mabel Bell and F.W. Baldwin [left to right]. J.A.D. McCurdy described the formation of the Aerial Experiment Association in his "Story for the Sun Life Assurance Company": "In the spring of 1907, a college associate of mine, Mr. F.W. Baldwin, and myself were guests at Dr. Bell's home where we took part in the laboratory experiments then being conducted by Bell regarding kite flying. We were then joined by Lieutenant Thomas A. Selfridge of the United States Army, who was on leave at the time, and having learned something of the experiments being conducted at Baddeck, came there to spend holidays. He was immediately taken into the Bell home. Both Dr. and Mrs. Bell became very fond of this young man, and an idea which had been in the process of forming in Mrs. Bell's mind for some time was one night suggested to her husband and the three young men present. I recall that evening after dinner sitting in the large hall with an immense fire burning in the huge fireplace and the warmth of the coal-oil lamps sending a glow over the hominess of the whole atmosphere. Mrs. Bell proposed that an association of some sort be formed to attempt seriously to develop a flying machine, which association she was willing to finance. She felt it would be rather nice to keep us younger men busy and occupied, and perhaps we might in some way be able to assist her husband in accomplishing what was to him the final desire of his ambition. Dr. Bell was very much taken with the idea and immediately, after a great deal of discussion, attempted to put it into practical form. A constitution was drawn and a name was selected which I think will live in the aeronautical world for some time. It was called the ‘Aerial Experiment Association'." [2007-058/001/#177, p. 3]

Date: 1907

Photographer: J McN [John McNeil]

Reference no.: Adam Griffith Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1985-297 no. 18   negative no. N-2294