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York Man Invents Flying Machine

That’s what a headline proclaimed in the March 17, 1908 Gazette. It seems that 24-year-old Phares Frey, a cigar maker from York had gone to Boston to raise money for his revolutionary project. How did he plan to raise those funds?

He placed the following ad in the Boston papers: “Wanted–A backer for a flying machine maker; about $5,000 capital needed. Apply to Phares Frey, 131 Dudley St.”
Frey didn’t think $5,000 would be too hefty a cost, considering what automobiles were selling for. He said he had tried to save the money himself, but he had a mother to support.
He figured he had inventing in his blood since his Scottish grandfather invented an air rifle. He told the interviewer that kites and birds gave him the idea of a flying machine. Wings would be a “practical feature” of his machine. He also related that he would use a gasoline engine, like an automobile, and not rely on balloons. The heavy silk wings would be connected to the gasoline engine. (He didn’t say how.)
Frey said he designed the flying machine for military purposes and had already applied to the military department in Washington.
Sounds like a good idea, Phares. I doubt, however, if the backers were beating down his door.
Seems like, on December 17, 1903, two brothers by the name of Wright had already accomplished what Frey was proposing. National events received excellent coverage in local newspapers, so I don’t know how Phares missed that one. Maybe he was too busy trying to raise funds.
Click here to read about York County interest in inventions.
Click here to read about another York County inventor.
Click here to read about George Dowdle’s bedbug-proof bedstead.
Click here to read about unsuccessful Hanover fire alarm.
And click here to read about a York County man’s friendship with inventor Thomas Edison.