Mar 02 2020

Mystery Foto #9 Solved: A Bleriot Monoplane Racing a Vanderbilt Cup Racer in 1910/1911


Brian McCarthy and the Cradle of Aviation challenged you to help identify this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Brian McCarthy found this Mystery Foto in the Cradle of Aviation Museum Archives placed on the New York Heritage Collections. According to Josh Stoff, curator of the Cradle of Aviation, there is no additional information on this photo besides the below caption.

Okay, Mystery Foto competitors, let's see if we can fill in the information gap.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • Provide background information on participants Rene Simon  and Joe Seymour and their connections

​Greg O: René Simon (December 8, 1885 – April 21, 1947) was a French aviator. He toured the United States in 1911-12 with the Moisant International Aviators. He became known for daring tactics and was called the "Flying-Fool" by the public.

Brian McCarthy: Joseph Seymour participated in the 1908 VCR - #8 Thomas 60 HP and 1909 VCR - #17 Isotta ? HP. Soon after, he also became an aviator. He, Rene & several others became a traveling flying group - The Moisant International Aviators. This group performed both driving & flying events across the USA in 1910 and 1911.

  • Identify the airplane and the likely race car

​Airplane: 1909 Bleriot

Racer: Unknown, possibly Seymour's 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Racer #17 Isotta

  • Link the airplane to the Long Island Motor Parkway

​The Moisant  Aviation School was located east of Clinton Road and north of the Motor Parkway.

  • Kudos question: When and where was the Mystery Foto taken? Since the answer is currently unknown, a list of possible options is acceptable.

Since the Mystery photo was likely used a press photo for the Moisant International Aviators traveling shows, it appeared in many publications, The photo was likely taken in late 1910 to January 1911. The Mystery Photo does match the Bleriot photographed in Houston from January 27-30, 1911. Other possible locations:

Greg O:

-Mexico and Cuba- October 1910

-Fort Worth Great Aviation Meet-January 12-13, 1911.

Steve Lucas, Tim Ivers & Brain McCarthy:

New Orleans- December 30, 1910

Al Velocci & Steve Lucas

- Houston- January 27-30,1911

Bob Lang:

-Kansas City "World's Foremost Bird Men!"- April 13-15, 1911 -Race between "fool flyer" Simon and Seymour 155 HP Vanderbilt Cup Racer is referred to in an article.

Comments (13)

Congrats to Greg O., Bob Lang, Tim Ivers, Al Velocci, Steve Lucas, Brian McCarthy, Dick Gorman and Ariejan Bos for helping to fill in the information gap for the Cradle of Aviation.

Kudos to Greg O., Bob Lang,  Steve Lucas, Brian McCarthy, Tim Ivers and Ariejan Bos for posting supporting articles and jpegs.

Enjoy,

Howard Kroplick



Close-Ups

Caption with the photo


Houston Air Show -January 27-30, 1911

The "21" designation matches the Mystery Foto Bleriot.



Comments

Mar 01 2020 frank femenias 8:47 AM

Exciting race!

Mar 01 2020 Greg O. 10:29 AM

-Provide background information on participants Rene Simon and Joe Seymour and their connections

René Simon (December 8, 1885 – April 21, 1947) was a French aviator. He toured the United States in 1911-12 with the Moisant International Aviators. He became known for daring tactics and was called the Flying-Fool by the public. Joe Seymour participated in two Vanderbilt Cup Races; finishing 8th in the 1908 race and 10th in the 1909 race.

-Identify the airplane and the likely race car

The plane was a Bleriot XI. A plane that VCR driver Hubert LeBlon and 1st female pilot Harriet Quimby both perished in at different times at flying events. A neat Bleriot XI replica can be seen in the main terminal at MacArthur airport in Islip. The Vanderbilt Racer could have been a Thomas or an Isotta being those are what Seymour drove in the Vanderbilt Cup Races. Although the Thomas is unlikely since it had 60hp and not the 120hp stated in the photo’s caption.

-Link the airplane to the Long Island Motor Parkway

I’m seeing many round about connections, but having a tough time finding a direct connection.

-Kudos question: When and where was the Mystery Foto taken? Since the answer is currently unknown, a list of possible options is acceptable.

Attached are some newspaper advertisements for the Moisant International Aviators event in Fort Worth Texas on Jan 12th & 13th, 1911. The mystery photo can be seen in the advertisements, so I do not believe it was from that Texas event, but a previous event possibly a few weeks or months earlier. Moisant Int. Aviators toured across the US, Mexico and Cuba and was formed in Oct 1910. This mystery photo was absolutely taken sometime between Oct 1910 and Jan 1911.

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Mar 01 2020 Bob Lang 12:35 PM

Making a guess here, but could be from Hutchinson, Kansas Air Show featuring the Moisant International Aviators.  Joe Seymour was not only a race driver but also a flyer for Moisant.  The attached Newpaper articles give details about both Seymour and Simon as well as the plane.  The dates for this show are April 13, 14 and 15 of 1911.

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Mar 01 2020 Tim Ivers 4:47 PM

Joe Seymour raced in the 1908 and 1909 Vanderbilt Cup races.
Rene Simon was a daredevil piilot who flew this Moisant monoplane and other aircraft.
Moisant had a plant in Garden City.
My guess would be this race took place in July 1911 with Seymour in #16 on a stretch of the LIMP through Levittown.

Mar 01 2020 Al Velocci 4:48 PM

Howard, Rene Simon and Joe Seymour were two of the seven man Moisant International Aviators group formed by John B. Moisant in 1910. The plane is a 1909 Bleriot. In January 1911 the group put on a show in Houston Texas I think that is were the photo was taken because the show was put on at a closed down race track. A Joe Seymore raced a Fiat in 1907.  A similar auto/plane race was planned on Long Island in September that year on and over local public roads around Garden City. Lou Disbrow in a National automobile and Tom Sopwith piloting a Bleriot. When the Nassau County sheriff forbade it the question was raised why not hold it on and over the privately owned Long Island Motor Parkway? We know it didn’t happen, I guess Willie wasn’t in the mood for any kind of racing.

Mar 01 2020 Steve Lucas 8:53 PM

Rene Simon was part of the Moisant International Aviators, a “barnstorming” group of early pilots (founded by brothers John & Alfred Moisant) who toured the south and west for around 5 months during late 1910 and early 1911. There is a reference to a Bleriot XI (with 50 HP. Gnome motor) racing a Packard in New Orleans on Dec. 30, 1910. I’m attaching a photo taken at the Houston Airshow (Jan. 27 - 30, 1911) which shows Joe Seymour on the left and Rene Simon 3rd. from the left. I’m thinking that since New Orleans is not all that far from Houston, Simon and Seymour duplicated the event at the old race track in Houston in January, 1911. By this time, Seymour was becoming interested in f lying as well as auto racing after participating in the 1908 and 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

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Mar 02 2020 Brian D McCarthy 12:14 AM

Renee Simon - ( 1885 - 1947 ) was a French aviator. I believe he also participated in auto racing, but flying was his passion. Joseph Seymour - ( Born? - Died? ) participated in the 1908 VCR - #8 Thomas 60 HP and 1909 VCR - #17 Isotta ? HP. Soon after, he also became an aviator. He, Renee & several others became a traveling flying group - The Moisant International Aviators. This group performed both driving & flying events across the USA in 1910, 1911.

When I witnessed this image on NYH/ COAM collection, I thought how cool it was that an aviator & race driver were competing with each other! I then realized after researching that this was happening quite a bit in those days.

The same image above is witnessed in the Omaha Daily Bee 4/30/1911. It’s captioned- Machine to fly over Omaha. So this image is from a previous event. There was an event during the groups tour at a Aviation Field in El Paso, Texas early to mid February 1911. I’m guessing the image is from the Feb event. Rene is flying his Bleriot Monoplane, I don’t know what vehicle Joe is driving. Most of the articles mention his 110 or 155 HP VCR racer? He should be leaving the 50 HP planes in the dust : ).

Below is info about The Moisant Flying School, which according to the brochure, was located just E/O Clinton Rd & parallel with the LIMP. Exactly where Hazelhurst became to be in 1917.Tried finding more info on Joe Seymour too.

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Mar 02 2020 Brian D McCarthy 12:18 AM

Three more

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Mar 02 2020 Brian D McCarthy 12:20 AM

And 2nd part of Steak Dinner

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Mar 02 2020 Dick Gorman 9:30 AM

Mystery Foto# 9… The aircraft being flown by Rene Simon is a Bleriot IX.
And Joe Seymour usually raced in a Thomas so I am guessing that that would be the car.

Mar 02 2020 frank femenias 1:14 PM

5 mile race, straight run likely, and it’s not the Motor Parkway. Probably Ormond Beach, FL, where you could’ve opened up the throttles without hesitation

Mar 02 2020 Howard Kroplick 8:41 PM

Ariejan Bos (Netherlands)

Dear Howard,

I hope you’re doing well! Always enjoy the challenge of the mysteries, though I’ve decided to restrict myself to the car mysteries, my core business grin As early flight is very much intermingled with early car history I have a small archive on that subject too.

Below the text belonging to the latest Friday mystery. Attached images from a book, explained in the text.

The Moisant International Aviators, Ltd., was a kind of flying (and racing) circus, giving shows on many places on the North American continent in the early years of flying. I add ed pages from the important work ‘Contact! The story of the early aviators’ by Henry Serrano Villard (Dover Publ., 1987), explaining the troupe in detail including the aviators and car drivers. Joe Seymour was indeed also a racing car driver, competing in many racing events. Also the famous Roland Garros and Edmond Audemars were part of this company. The plane on the photo is evidently a Blériot, the car is less evident but looking at the outline of the car possibilities are the 1905 and/or 1906 Mercedes, Fiat or Itala Vanderbilt Cup racers. Difficult to decide which one!

Best wishes,
Ariejan Bos

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Mar 02 2020 Howard Kroplick 8:59 PM

Tim Ivers

Articles from:
New York Billboard- July 15, 1911-No location identified for “first aerial show”
Batavia New York Times December 31, 1910

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Mar 03 2020 Brian D McCarthy 7:51 AM

That’s an excellent group shot left by Steve Lucas. I like how the group is described within Ariejans pages. Brings to mind a band of misfit superheroes!

Mar 03 2020 Al Velocci 8:10 AM

I followed the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race very closely since it was the first of the races using part of the Motor Parkway. Don’t have a recollection of a Joe Seymour participating. Someone fill me in on what type of car he drove and how he finished.

Mar 03 2020 Howard Kroplick 1:34 PM

Gary Hammond

I didn’t send in my opinion because I thought this to be too easy, and everyone else would have found the answer - I guess I was wrong!  This happened in Omaha, Nebraska sometime between May 8 and May 14 at the Omaha Speedway during the meet of the so-called “International Aviators”.  It was reported in Billboard Magazine in the May 13th and 15th issues (see Attached).  Seymour had brought his “155-horse power auto, with which he won the Vanderbilt cup and the grand prix at Paris.  He also took premier honors at Savannah, Brier Cliff and Atlanta with this racer”.  This photo actually appeared in the May 15th issue under the headline “Aeroplane-Auto Race”.  The Moisant School would open up later that year on the Hempstead Plains.  Sorry for the poor quality images. 
Gary

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