Jan 17 2018

Aerial Advertising Banners Flying Over the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race Grandstand

When thousands of spectators arrived at the start of the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race, they were amazed to view over 20 advertising banners flying 25-50 feet over the grandstand. These aerial advertising banners are documented in the Lazarnick Collection of the Detroit  Public Library.

Check out below to find out how these banners flew and who was responsible for this early form of automobile equipment advertising.


Howard Kroplick

Aerial Advertising Banners

Non-Fluid Oils- Do Not Drip

Michelin Tires

New York & New Jersey Lubrication Co.


MotorRol for Cylinders

Samuel F. Perkins Scientific Kite Fying

So how did these banners fly and who was responsible for this clever form of advertising? The answer is "scientific kites" developed by Samuel F. Perkins of Boston, Massachusets.


Jan 18 2018 Brian D McCarthy 1:20 PM

Very cool info Howard, thanks! Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Samuel F Perkins. I’m sure others will as well.

Howard Kroplick

Brian, thanks for the feedback! I first saw a Vanderbilt Cup Race “flying banner” photo years ago. I finally decided to research this Very unusual advertising media in 1909.

Jan 18 2018 Dave Russo 9:32 PM

Very Cool to see. Seeing stuff like this just makes me think how cool of a spot this grandstand location was and how there is zero education/appreciation/knowledge about this Levittown spot from the general public. I had many friends in Levittown growing up and nobody knew about this.

Jan 18 2018 Dave Russo 9:43 PM

It makes no sense to me that for over 100 years somehow the LIMP location at this grandstand location was not built on. In a town that is so nationally famous for its amazingly aggressive construction somehow this exact location avoided construction. There has to be a reason. It just makes no sense. Maybe something was planned at some time for this spot? Some sort of recognition? Well as we all know there are new houses up on this location now.

Jan 20 2018 Art Kleiner 7:28 AM

Dave - pertaining to Levittown and why the Motor Parkway area hasn’t until now been developed, living in Levittown I’ve done some research.  I can’t tell you why Levitt never purchased the Motor Parkway property (perhaps the aviation field didn’t want to sell), but over the years its been at the center of a long protracted legal battle between the developer who was able to buy the property some 25 or 30 years ago (Josato at one time) and the Town of Hempstead.  The property changed hands in what appeared to be a sweetheart deal ($80,000) with the developer thinking he was going to be able to build homes.  However, when Levittown was created, there were a number of zoning covenants/requirements (i.e. building of sub-developments, lot sizes, front and side yard area, etc.) built into the deeds that were even more restrictive than the Town zoning laws. 

These covenants were set to expire in 1975 but probably at the request of Levittown residents, the Town Board adopted Resolution No. 1781-1975 on Dec. 9, 1975 that created a new zoning district within the Town’s Building Zone Ordinance named the “Levittown Planned Residence District” (LPRD).  This kept some of the original building requirements and has been used over the last 30 years as the basis for the legal battles between the community and developers and up until very recently has held up. 

From my website which obviously needs updating. 

Jan 21 2018 Dave Russo 4:42 PM

Thanks Art. Great info. My main question was why this was never developed in the “LEVITT” time zone. Levittown is quite famous for it’s construction / development, I’m just wondering why back then this was “preserved”.

So looking at your site, I see in 2012 the builder was denied pretty handily. What happened since then that allowed this construction?

Feb 04 2018 Tom 5:29 PM

Interesting about Perkins and so soon after the first flights of any kind.

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