SFO Museum celebrates aviators at the 1915 World’s Fair

SFO_Art Smith ( left) with his biplane and fairgoers at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,

Art Smith (at left) with his biplane and fairgoers at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco 1915. Courtesy SFO Museum

A new exhibition at San Francisco International Airport displays images of the popular aeronautical programs that were presented at San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair – known as the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

SFO_Lincoln Beachey performing in his biplane over the Panama-Pacific International Exposition grounds,

Lincoln Beachey performing in his biplane over the Panama-Pacific International Exposition grounds, San Francisco December 25, 1913 – courtesy SFO Museum

Included in Fancy Flying: Aviation at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition – are twenty-one recently created black and white gelatin silver prints made from the vintage glass plate negatives of the Cardinell-Vincent Company. Many show famous birdmen of the day, including Lincoln Beachey and Art Smith, who performed aerial acrobatics for the crowds.

SFO_Art Smith performing an illuminated night flight at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,

Art Smith performing an illuminated night flight at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco 1915 – Courtesy SFO Museum

Many fairgoers got their first look at an airplane at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and many paid what was then a considerable sum of money – $10.00 – for an air tour over San Francisco Bay in a floatplane made by the Loughead brothers, who later changed the spelling of their name to Lockheed.

Fancy Flying: Aviation at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition is part of the citywide centennial celebration and is on display in the pre-security area of the SFO International Terminal through August 31, 2015. (Open Sunday to Friday; closed Saturday and holidays).

Can’t get to SFO before August? Here’s a link to an online exhibition of some of the images.