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Murrell Ornithopter
An ornithopter, circa 1910, that was built by Melville M. Murrell of Morrinsville, Tennessee. He’d previously patented a human-powered ornithopter in 1877, then was bitten by the aviation bug again when powered flying machines were being developed. For reasons of his own, 35 years after applying for his flying-machine patent, Murrell pulled his old drawings out, made some alterations, and built a new flyer. Though Murrell’s new model bore some resemblance to his original ornithopter, he’d apparently been doing some reading. This time, he gave his plane a fixed wing; his louvered flapping wings were still a part of the design, but now supplied forward thrust. Murrell rigged the machine to a cable along a hillside and harnessed it to a mule to launch it into the air. The cable having some sort of a trip such that, when the plane had gotten to a certain speed, it was hurled into the air.

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