Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Navigating the Air'
Micajah Clark Dyer
However, a remarkable development has occurred to add new light on Mr. Dyer’s invention and to authenticate what had only been passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation about the nineteenth century genius who watched birds fly and mused (to quote a line from a popular song), “Why, then oh why can’t I?”
Straightaway I have these to thank for
discovering the registered patent in the U. S.
Patent and Trademark Office and allowing me access to a copy. First, Jimmy Powell, cartoonist of note, went
on the Google search engine, typing “Micajah Dyer Patent.”
He followed the links to the
And speaking of patents, several of us
who have written about his flying machine have noted that the patent
application was evidently lost because there seemed to be no documents
Dyer’s papers to show that he received a patent. It
was believed by family members that the
patent was lost in transit between Choestoe and
The fact that it was not lost, and
that proof of the patent came into the hands of his descendants 130
are wonderful authentications of this man’s outstanding work. In fact, September is a good month to be
writing about the title he gave to his patent, “Apparatus for
Navigating the Air,”
for the patent was granted on
Usually a model of the machine for
which the inventor was applying for a patent accompanied the drawings
official application. So far, the model
has not been discovered at the patent office, but it may have been
the fire that devastated parts of the building in
Witnesses at Choestoe to Micajah
Dyer’s illustrated and written document were Francis M. Swain (a
M. C. Dyer, Jr. (the “other” Micajah
Clark Dyer who, to distinguish the two,
signed Jr. after his name. He was
an uncle to the inventor Micajah Clark Dyer, but they were reared as
by Elisha Dyer, Jr., grandfather of Micajah).
The document was dated
The beginning of the written description leads one to believe that there could have been prior applications; certainly prior attempts at an “Apparatus for Navigating the Air.” His opening statement reads:
Be it known that I, Micajah Dyer, of Blairsville, in the county of Union and State of Georgia, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Apparatus for Navigating the Air; and I do declare the following to be a full, clear and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it pertains to make and use it, reference being had to the accompanying drawings, which form part of this specification…
In the written account are minute details giving specifications for building the frame, the wings, the large balloon, the rotating paddle wheels, shafts, cranks, connecting rods—no part seems to have been omitted from his description of the apparatus which he so painstakingly thought through, drew and, from testimony of several who saw it, built in his workshop. The description is far too technical and long to include in this account.
No date is given for the “trial run” Micajah Clark Dyer gave his ‘Apparatus for Navigating the Air” on the runway he built to launch it on his property at Choestoe underneath the shadow of Rattlesnake Mountain. The fact that he did so is not a part of the patent but by word passed from generation to generation by people of integrity and honesty.
His great, great granddaughter, Sylvia
Dyer Turnage, said: “People said he
continued to work on perfecting the machine until his death on
Jones; published September 16, 2004 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator,
freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA