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The Philadelphia Bulletin

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BULLETIN, 24 January 1916, page


Following Reports of Airship Over duPont Plants, Society Men Are Asked to Watch Machines


Robert E. Glendinning and Clarke Thomson, prominent in society circles and owners of hydro-aeroplanes, have been asked by Federal agents to guard their planes so they cannot be used in an air raid on the duPont powder mills in New Jersey and Delaware.

The government investigators requested that the "flying boats," which are stored along the Delaware river, be dismantled or placed under guard, and were informed that parts of engines on each were removed last November when the aviators gave up flying for the winter.

Under no circumstances could they be used, Mr. Glendinning and Mr. Clarke assured the investigators unless the missing parts were replaced by experts. They also said they were positive their machines has not been used without their knowledge.

The visit of the Federal investigators, it is believed, was influenced by reports prevalent in towns near Pennsgrove, N. J., that an aeroplane had been heard at night circling over the powder mills.

Mr. Glendinning is a member of the firm of Robert Glendinning and Company, bankers, Fourth and Chestnut sts., and Mr. Thomson is a son of a former president of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Mr. Glendinning has a hangar at Essington, just below the Philadelphia Yacht Club, while Mr. Thomson's machine has been stored in a tent near the rifle range along the water front at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Two Paulsboro residents and several workmen employed at the dynamite plant at Gibbstown declare they distinctly heard the whirring of an aeroplane propeller over the town and plant, and they say a machine sailed over the works the night of the explosion when five men were injured recently.

Jesse K. Wilkerson and Wilbert McLain are the Paulsboro residents who emphatically assert they heard an aeroplane, and that they and neighbors tumbled out of bed when they were attracted by the noise in the sky. They could not see the machine. Mr. Glendinning to-day admitted that Federal agents were conducting an investigation.

"I am not at liberty to disclose what information the agents imparted to me," he declared. "It is true I was visited and asked about my machine and whether there was any danger it might be stolen for use in a raid on a powder works. I told my visitor my machine was dismantled, and that it was safe."

Federal officers here deny they are active in the investigation, and say the investigators may have come from Washington.

There have been repeated rumors following explosions at the duPont plants in New Jersey that aviators were responsible, and that explosives were dropped upon the buildings. Officials of the duPont Powder Company said they placed no credence in the reports, and added they knew nothing of Mr. Glendinning and Mr. Thomson having been questioned about their flying machines.

The belief, however, that there is a mysterious aviator, who makes nightly excursions, has grown into a fully developed report in the New Jersey towns, in the vicinity of the powder plants, and is spreading. According to reports in Paulsboro, the skies are swept at night by curious persons who expect to see a 'plane in a raid on one of the plants.

Each of the powder plants is so protected by armed guards and high wire fences that an attack by enemies, except fromthe skies, is declared to be impossible, according to official statements of the duPont company. They have ascribed all explosions in their works either to carelessness on the part of employes or to unavoidable accidents.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BULLETIN, 26 January 1916, page


Kensington Woman Certain She Saw Mysterious Flying Craft

It may have been an aeroplane or it may have been a lonely blackbird, but anyway Mrs. Mame Zehner, 1433 E. Berks st., on January 15, just before dusk, saw some object flashing across the skyline in Kensington. Her information on the discovery, which is not shared by neighbors, is available for investigators, professional and amateur, who are tracing the mysterious flyer which some Paulsboro, N. J., residents say they have seen circling over the duPont powder mills.

Mrs. Zehner is confident she saw an aeroplane. She is indignant when asked if she might mistake a big bird for an aircraft.

Mrs. Zehner's memory is hazy whether she ever had seen an aeroplane in flight. "But I did see a picture of one in a newspaper last week," she explained, "and the object I saw flying over my house looked just like it, even to the framework and the engine."

The woman declares she was seated at the supper table, a few minutes after 5 o'clock, on January 15, when she glanced out the window. "There was a big black dot on the sky, which was moving very rapidly," she continued. "I rushed to the window and distinctly saw an aeroplane. It was high in the sky, but not too high for me to see the framework. It wasn't any bird. It was flying from the northeast and was heading for City Hall."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BULLETIN, 1 February 1916, page


Tacony Citizen Said He Saw Huge Flyer Skim Across Sky Toward Frankfort Arsenal

It is a dull day when some eagle-eyed resident of the northeastern section of the city does not see an aeroplane whizzing over his home, bent on an errand of mischief.

The latest 'plane was spied yesterday afternoon by J. M. Smith, a Tacony shoe salesman. He was standing on the doorstep of his home yesterday afternoon, he said, when he heard a noise like the throbbing of an engine.

"I was going to a funeral in Readings and this noise frightened me," he declared. "I looked up and, swooping over my home, not more than 250 feet in the air, was a big aeroplane. It was going fast, and heading from the river front to the Frankford Arsenal. I am a good American citizen and think this sort of thing should be stopped."

"Whaddya mean, aeroplane?" says the Frankfort Arsenal. "Nothing more than blackbirds passed over here yesterday afternoon."

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BULLETIN, 3 February 1916, page


Don't Believe Light Seen High Above Carney's Point Was That of Aeroplane


A statement issued in Wilmington this afternoon by the duPont Powder Company, casts strong doubt on the report that a light seen high above the Carney's Point, N. J., plant Monday night, was that of an aeroplane.

A report to this effect had been made by Albert J. Parsons, in charge of the guard at Deep Water Point, which is at the southern extremity of the Carney's Point plant. Parsons, summoned to Wilmington this afternoon, said he was convinced the light was that of an aeroplane, but he admitted he had not seen the machine itself.

The company, in its statement, concedes that Parsons was sincere in what he said, and that he actually saw a mysterious light, but there is no evidence, the officials point out, to show that this light had any connection with an airship.

What the light was, the company does not attempt to explain, but it declared that until fuller and more detailed evidence is obtained, the contemplated report of the affair to Washington will not be made. Meanwhile, there will be a period of "watchful waiting." The strictest vigilance will be observed that the light may be seen if it reappears.

Company officials accept this report seriously. Coincident with it are definite reports that an aeroplane has been seen over the duPonts' Hagley yards, near Wilmington, above 6th and Brooms sts., Wilmington, and at Coatesville, Pa., where the Lukens Company has its big steel and iron plant.

"About two weeks ago," he began, "on two nights, I saw a strange light. But it was so far away that I couldn't tell whether it was on an aeroplane or a ship's masthead. I was curious, and decided to watch for it every night."

"Monday night, I was at the duPont labor camp at Carney's Point, two miles from the river and three miles from Deep Water Point. This camp is on the highest piece of ground the powder plant occupies, and affords a clear, far view."


"It was just 8.30 o'clock Monday night when the light I had been looking for suddenly shone out of the darkness. It reminded me of the light you see in a toy balloon, such as is sent up on the Fourth of July; only it was a steady light. There was no flickering, and the light was white."

"As near as I could tell, the light was about 1,500 feet up. It seemed to be directly over the Deep Water Point section of our plant. But as that is three miles away from the camp, I couldn't tell exactly, of course."

"For a few minutes, the light seemed to move hardly at all. But finally it floated down until apparently it was within a few hundred feet of the river. That's what makes me think it was a hydro-aeroplane."

Captain Parsons reported what he had seen to Major Clark, who is in supreme command of the Carney's Point and Deep Water Point guard, and he in turn reported to Major Sylvester. The major, formerly Superintendent of Police in Washington, D. C., now heads the duPont secret service. He submitted a full report at the duPont home offices in Wilmington to-day.


Hardly had this been made, when there were additional developments. Two weeks ago, company officials were informed, an aeroplane was seen over the Hagley Yard, which is about three miles from Wilmington. At about the same time it was seen over 6th and Brooms sts., in the heart of Wilmington, and not far from the big office building of the duPont Company, which is combined with the duPont Hotel. And then came word from Coatesville of the sighting of an aeroplane there a few nights ago. The mysterious craft of the air always has appeared after nightfall.

Announcement of these reports was made to-day by former Congressman C. R. Landis, who is authorized to speak for the duPont Company.

Before going to the duPonts, Parsons was employed by express companies in At-

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BULLETIN, 4 February 1916, page


Hovering Over City Hall, 'Tis Said, But Vareites Don't Think It Was Penrose Machine

A strange aeroplane is said to have made a flight over the city, dipping abruptly over City Hall, late yesterday afternoon. This report, made by a man living near 18th and Morris sts., closely followed the report that a strange air craft had been seen hovering over the duPont powder works at Carney's Point, N. J., where so many fires and explosions have occurred recently.

The machine is supposed to have come from the general direction of Darby. Members of the Mt. Zion Church in that community said they saw an airship gliding over the town about 4 o'clock. It was some time later that the uptown man says he saw a machine over City Hall. None of the amateur airmen of this city made flights yesterday.

Who the driver of the machine was and his purpose in flying over City Hall are mysteries.

It has been suggested that it might have contained a Penrose spy trying to get a better view of the activities of Mr. Vare's friends in City Hall. This, however, is considered improbable, although a factional political war is apt to cause all sorts of complications. Those who saw the machines are certain, at least, that the driver was not Mr. Penrose himself. It was impossible to tell, they said, whether the machine was filled with bombs.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, BULLETIN, 14 February 1916, page


Wilmington Police Chief Detailed Man to Give Warning of "Invader"

The mysterious airship, said to have been seen hovering over the duPont powder plants, in New Jersey, appears to have been a star. Residents of Wilmington, across the river from duPont's, Carney's Point plant, last night, saw two stars, which appeared about four feet apart, and gave a very strong light.

It was soon reported that aeroplanes were about. Police Captain Kelleher, of Wilmington, when notified that a machine was coming from Pennsylvania, detailed Claybot, an operator, to the tower of the City Hall to look for the invader. All he saw was a star.

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