A Century Ago

Transportation in Maine During the Wright Era: December 17, 2003 marked a tremendous anniversary in transportation. One hundred years earlier, Orville and Wilbur Wright succeeded in making the first successful controlled, powered, heavier than air flight, an undertaking that lasted only 12 seconds and spanned 120 feet.

The Wright Brothers’ historic flight of 1903 marked the dawn of new technologies that would allow us to navigate the oceans of air and build machines called automobiles to roll across continents. Thomas Edison harnessed electricity, while Alexander Graham Bell gave us the telephone. Henry Ford and Ransom Olds manufactured thousands of autos to replace the horse and buggy, while Glenn Curtiss carried forward where the Wrights left off. These men, along with scores of others, developed the stepping stones leading from the Old World to the one we live in today. In Maine, because of topography, location and bad roads, river steamers and coastal schooners, railroads and even the horse and buggy still were the prime movers for several more decades. Even today Maine retains a flavor different from its neighbors thanks to its maritime heritage. Exhibits that are currently represented in “A Century Ago”:


1891 Lillienthal Glider (1/2 Scale Representation)

1896 Chanute Glider (1/2 Scale Representation)

1900 (ca.) Clark Ornithopter

1903 Wright Kitty Hawk Flyer (Reproduction)

1913 Deperdussin (Reproduction)

1963 Gemini Space Capsule (Representation)


1885 Benz (Replica)

1898 Leon Bolle Tri-car

1902 Curved Dash Olds

1903 Mercedes Simplex Tourer

1903 Prescott Steam Runabout

1904 American Manufacturing Co. & 1918 American LaFrance Fire Pumper “Vesuvius” (Recreation)

1904 Stanley Model B Runabout

1907 Cadillac Runabout

1907 Renault Vanderbilt Racer (Replica)

1908 Sears Motor Buggy

1909 DeDion - Bouton Voiture

1913 Ford Model T Roadster


1868 Roper Steam Velocipede

1868 Velocipede Boneshaker

1879 Baliss Thomas Harvard Highwheeler

1887 (ca.) Safety Bicycle

1885 Star Safety Highwheeler

1901 Steffey Motor Bike

1946 Wizzer Motor Bicycle Horse Drawn

1850 (ca.) Concord Coach


1870 4-4-0 American Locomotive and Tender (Model)

Boston and Maine Railroad (Model)