Orville Ward Owen Articles

Thanks to the fine folks at Google, as well as a range of university libraries and other research institutions, a wide range of contemporaneous newspaper accounts of Dr Orville Ward Owen's adventures have become available online. Mythkateer Evert Huisman in particular dug up a large number of these. Enjoy the selection below!

1.  Technical World Magazine, Volume 12 - Nov. 1909 - Recent Successes in Aeronautics

But on top of all the recent reports of recent successes in aeronautics comes a statement from Dr. Orville Ward Owen, a prominent Detroit physician, who puts fort the belief that all the theories upon which past experiments have been based will eventually be cast aside as worthless.
Dr. Owen proposes aplying in a new form a principle as old as the world - levitation by vibration.
Through all the centuries birds and insects alone have possessed the ability to counteract the power of gravity. It is not alone the wings of a bird that enable it to remain in the air at will. There are birds that soar about without moving a wing, that rise and fall when traveling in the same direction as the wind, or in the teeth of a gale. How do they do this? By means of nerve vibration, according to Dr. Owen.
Taking an ordinary bee, which flies at express train speed and carries thirty times its own weight, Dr. Owen rolled it in a plate of honey, and then watched the proceedings through a microscope, weeking to confirm his belief that the wings were agencies for propulsion rather than suspension, as commonly supposed. The first thing the bee did was to clean its legs and wings as carefully as possible. After this it settled back in the sticky mass and began to buzz. The sound grew louder and louder until a certain pitch, a certain degree of vibration, had been attained. Then the bee sailed off into space as though nothing unusual had happened. Was it the wings which made the flight possible? Dr. Owen affirms assuredly not. There was scarcely any evidence of their being used. Vibration was the magic influence that lifted the insect out of the honey and enabled it to make an escape that seemed impossible.
In the course of his experiments looking toward the development of this mysterious power, Dr. Owen hit upon a gyroscopic top. Dr. Owen knew that vibration makes the sound which comes from a bell. Why not combine the top and bell, thereby providing a maximum vibration?
The monorail has demonstrated the practicability, through spinning two gyroscopic tops, of lifting a car with freight and running it up on a single rail. The gyroscopic action is one of balancing power, not only permitting the lifting of heavy weights, but balancing them on one rail. In the aerial ship designed by Dr. Owen it is planned to have the tops within bells not only furnish the harmonic tones, or vibrations, but also acting as gyroscopes, keep the aerial ship or platform from toppling over and render it as stable in the air as if it were securely anchored on the earth.
The weight one of these ships can lift will be dependent upon the size of the bells. According to Dr. Owen, twenty-two tons of sheet steel have been lifted and held in the air by a comparatively small top and bell. Whether Dr. Owen is right or wrong will presently be demonstrated, for a company has been formed to build an airship incorporating his ideas.

2.  Eugene Register-Guard - Dec, 30, 1911 - Sir Francis Bacon Invented Airship

Detroit, Jan 1. - Following closely on the announcement by Dr. Orville W. Owen that his researches in England for proof that Francis Bacon wrote the plays of William Shakespeare are fast nearing completion comes a statement from the doctor that Sir Francis was the inventor, or at least the designer, of an airship. Owen has not discovered the airship, and will not make known the details of his find.