Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


YESTERDAY AT SimanaitisSays, Aeromarine Airways established international service between Key West and Havana with converted World War I flying boats. Today, the airline expands in particularly novel ways.

Mr. Uppercu Wants a Hunting Expedition. Polar Bear, the last of the ten Aeromarine 75s, was specially fitted for an Uppercu hunting expedition to the Arctic Circle in the spring of 1923. Inglis M. Uppercu had worked for pioneer automaker Duryea, established his own successful Autocar/Cadillac/Packard dealership in the New York-New Jersey area, and was founder and president of Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company.

The Polar Bear’s special fitments.

First In-Flight Movie—and More!. The Aeromarine Santa Maria participated in the Chicago Pageant of Progress in August 1921 with a real first: an in-flight movie. Howdy, Chicago, produced by Rothacker Film Co. for the Chicago Boasters’ Club, described the city to passengers as they flew 2000 ft. above it.

To accomplish this feat, a screen was set up in an Aeromarine 75 forecabin, with a DeVry suitcase projector connected to one of the aeroplane’s electric light sockets. “Before the flight,” Aeromarine notes, ”it was feared that the vibration of the giant hydroplane as it shot through the air at 90 miles an hour would seriously interfere with the screening. It did not.”

An Aeromarine Mystery is shown in the following photograph. The solution is given at The Aeromarine Website.

What is this piece of equipment on the wing of an Aeromarine 75?

Hint: This early attempt at mid-flight convenience was often hampered by hawks. It was discontinued when airborne radios arrived in early 1923.

A Flappers’ Delight. Harry Bruno, 1893–1978, was a London-born aviation pioneer who joined Aeromarine Airways as its Sales and Publicity Director in 1921. And the company’s business and pleasure travel service expanded beyond Key West and Havana.

Aptly named, the Aeromarine Wolverine (Michigan) and Buckeye (Ohio) worked the Detroit/Cleveland route in the summers of 1922 and 1923; and, of course, like other high society, they wintered in Florida.

PR whiz Harry Bruno was a master at attracting bright young things to Aeromarine Airways. In the spring of 1922, there was a Buckeye-load of Florida-residing flappers. Once summer returned, Harry staged aerial tea parties for Cleveland and Detroit Society Page writers.

“Ninety Minutes in Heaven,” wrote Miss Peggy MacLean in The Detroit News. “Yesterday I flew to Cleveland for lunch in the ‘Buckeye,’ an 11-passenger flying limousine in the Aeromarine Airways Co.’s service in ninety minutes…. It was like being in heaven and looking benevolently down on the little spot of earth known as the world.”

Miss MacLean, Mr. Bruno, and the flappers were all kindred spirits. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019


  1. carmacarcounselor
    January 11, 2019

    I give up. What was it? Semaphore?

    • simanaitissays
      January 12, 2019

      Ha. Actually the gizmo on the wing contains things more elemental than a mechanical semaphore. Hint: They gave been known to reside on statues in the park.

      • simanaitissays
        January 12, 2019

        Opps. Replace “gave” above with “have.” And don’t try typing at this hour of the morning….

      • carmacarcounselor
        January 12, 2019

        D’oh! Carrier pigeons!

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