Another Beyond-the-Box Program of
Voices of Old Technology - A Museum in the Making
Perspectives on Our History Through Technology

Queens in Flight:
From Balloons to Seaplanes to Space Shuttles

Exhibit Catalog

Fall 2004
Benjamin Rosenthal Library / Queens College - CUNY
Barham Rotunda and 2nd Floor display cases (outside RO 230 / Auditorium)

From the title panel

he mission of Voices of Old Technology - A Museum in the Making is to enhance the educational experience at Queens College through an interdisciplinary approach to the exploration of technology development.    

To accomplish this, Voices of Old Technology collects, preserves, documents, displays and interprets selected technologies and related materials.  The collection emphasizes, but is not limited to, office and educational technology. Related items collected from Queens College,  CUNY and local sources highlight the history of the College, the University and the community as well.  Our exhibit catalogs are designed for the web, and a click on a catalog image provides an enlargement. [More About Voices of Old Technology] [Previous Exhibits]

This exhibit is in the Barham Rotunda of the Rosenthal Library, and continues to the display cases outside Rosenthal 230, the auditorium on the 2nd floor of the Library.  To get to the 2nd floor display cases, go to the Library's cafe area and take the elevator or the stairs down to the 2nd floor.

Upstairs: Far Right - Separate Display Case

In A Different Light
Exhibit Poster from October 2002  Voices of Old Technology Alumni Day Exhibit

This poster is from one of our “Voices of Old Technology…” exhibits in 2002.  Among our goals for all our exhibits and programs is to show “perspectives on our history through technology,” and to show this history “in a different light.”
In our current exhibit, “Queens in Flight…,” we try to accomplish this by filling in some of the faces of aviation through local places, events and voices.
We hope our exhibits make you think – about creativity and invention, history, technology development, education and how YOU can help shape the future.

Aviator's Helmet and Goggles
Helmet and Goggles - On Loan From Steve Barto
Displayed on hairdresser head

Amelia Earhart - The Mystery Solved, by Elgen M. Long and Marie K. Long, Touchstone, NY, 1999.
A photo of Amelia Earhart in her aviator's helmet is on the cover.  Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937, the year Queens College was founded.  Mary Earhart Dillon, a QC faculty member of the 1950s, is believed to be related to her in some way. See the book cover photo at

Mustang Pilot

From the QC Crown - December 5, 1944 / Copy of Article from the QC Archives
2nd Lt. Albert DiPaola, QC class of 1944 - in England, shown in his aviator's helmet.

Around the World in 80 Minutes / First American in Orbit/
Astronaut John Glenn / Welcome Back to Earth
Commemorative Button
John Glenn in his space helmet.

Frommer's The Moon - A Guide for First Time Visitors, Werner Kum Ustenmacher, Peter Constantine, Werner Kustenmacher, Macmillan, 1999.
A tourist in space suit - carrying a suitcase - is on the cover.  This book makes travel to the moon seem not so far away!

Lunar Module Model
Lunar Module manufactured by Grumman
Model on loan from Steve Barto

More on the module at and at , in an article "1969 - Grumman engineers america's first step."

NASA Space Shuttle Model - Discovery

Upstairs:  Title Panel - Center Case

Pick a field – any field - and you’ll find many landmark dates and exciting times in technology development and education, with Queens College and Queens people heavily involved.

“Queens in Flight…” amplifies the VOICES and FACES of local aviation history by highlighting stories of creativity, technology development and the lure and excitement of flight.  This latest exhibit by “Voices of Old Technology – A Museum in the Making” shares:
We hope this exhibit helps you rediscover some of that childhood joy and wonder as you see and hear the ever-changing patterns of flight over campus. 
It is especially fitting that this exhibit is at QC and is in the Benjamin Rosenthal Library, which was named in memory of Queens Congressman Benjamin Rosenthal.  Among Congressman Rosenthal’s focal interests were airport safety and the reduction of aviation-related noise levels in the community.

Three local pictures - taken in 2004 from Whitestone Expressway near Flushing Airport
1) "Welcome to New York" sign in the grass at La Guardia Airport - parts of 2 planes frame the sign.
2) Traffic Sign on Whitestone Expressway - arrows to Kennedy Airport and to La Guardia Airport. 
3) QC's Fitzgerald Gym with plane overhead - the gym was built in a style popular at the time, resmbling an airport hangar.

Report from Congressman Benjamin Rosenthal - July 1977
Update on Flushing Airport issues.

City Will Develop Airport in Queens.  From The New York Times, April 22, 1937.
Aviation-related actions and discussions by the Sinking Fund Commission, including plans for “the improvement of
North Beach Airport in Queens so that it could be used as a transatlantic seaplane base.” The last paragraph is as follows: “Before adjourning, the commission approved the surrender of the Parental School site in Flushing which will be used by the Board of Higher Education for the new Queens College.”

Hot Air Balloon at QC - 1976

Balloon in qc quad in 1970s

Two items from the QC Newsbeat, a student paper
Copies from the QC Archives

1) Ad: Hot Air Ballonist / May 4, 1976 / See a 70 ft balloon take off and land at qc
QC Newsbeat, May 3, 1976
2) Photo with caption: Up up and away - almost    --- / ballonist tried but couldn't make it off the ground
QC Newsbeat, May 10, 1976

Photo of Orange
1939 Piper Cub
- Excerpt from the class history, QC Silhouette - January 1944, p. 40.
- Flyer Finds Terra Firma.  From the QC Crown, September 21, 1943. Copy from the QC Archives.

Photo of a 1939 Piper Cub – taken from slide in the QC Archives; from a Class of 1943 alumni slide show. Information here about the plane is from a CD obtained from the FAA.  We believe these two stories may be about the orange Piper Cub in the photo and its landing on the QC campus.

Photo of Rosenthal Library with Plane Flying Overhead - on way to lag Guardia Airport
A beautiful and common site!

Photo of Rose Balaban Stodola - music major QC '44 - and husband "King" stodola next to their plane
Rose considers herself a real Rosie the Riveter - because of her name and because of the work she did after graduation at Grumman.   Her husband was part of the Army group that won recognition for bouncing radar signals off the moon in the 1940s.

To Seek Pilot Licences – 26 at Brooklyn, City and Queens Colleges to Take CAA Course.  From The New York Times, June 17, 1940.
“…Summer session course of seventy-two hours of ground school instruction at the
School of Technology at City College and an additional thrity-five to fifty hours of flight instruction at Roosevelt Field…” Not the mall…

Picture of Tony Bennett - at one of QC Armed Forces Day programs in the 1950s
Copy of photo in QC archives

A local celebrity, Tony Bennett lived in Astoria.  Pictured on campus (behind D and E? --- Delany and Colwin now) in a part of a plane provided by Republic for the event.

Mary Earhart Dillon
- part of QC Bulletin for 1950-1951 / showing entry for her as an Assiistant Professor in Political Science
- Dr. Dillon's short bio on  back comver of her book Wendel Wilke

Mary Earhart Dillon became Chair of QC’s Political Science Department. Stories told by some who were on campus at the time indicate she was a sister of Amelia Earhart. 

US Navy - Aeronautical Training Film

Circa WWII
Donated by QC Office of Information Technology /Media Services - Fall 2003

This 16mm film was part of the Media Services collection until Fall 2003.  It may have been used as a training film in the ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program) that was on the QC campus during WWII.  Tape on the lid indicated the film included training pieces as well as a cartoon.

True Airspeed Computer / AC type G1 / by Sillcocks-Miller company
On loan from Helene Guidice

This "computer" is round with manually operated dials, and is not a computer in the sense we use the word today. 

Black and Decker – ¼” Electric Drill
Marked “Home Utility ¼” Electric Drill – Cat. No. HU-1”
Donated by Studio Art Department – Fall 2004 

During WWII, many of our women alums and students with unlikely majors went to work in Long Island’s aviation industry.  The image on this tag is of a woman
using a similar drill at , with a caption “Rosie the Riviter [sic]– Era 1940s – Manufacturing – War.”  The term “Rosie the Riveter” was used for the many women who took industrial jobs during WWII that were previously open only to men; the jobs became vacant when the men went to war, and became critical to “the war effort.”

According to the Black and Decker website, at   “The one-millionth 1/4" Home Utility drill came off the assembly line” in 1950. "

Plane Model - Republic Fairchild A-10  Thunderbolt "Warthog"
USAF ground attack jet - 1970s to present

On loan from Steve Barto -
Example of planes made on Long Island

Plane Model  - Grumman F-14 Tomcat
US Navy Jet Fighter  - 1970s to present

On loan from Steve Barto - Example of planes made on Long Island

Balsa wood plane  - Guillow's Sky Streak
2004 - With rubber band

Kids used to assemble and fly light weight balsa wood planes like this.  It was easy enough for everyone - and fun!

Upstairs: First Case From Left

Upstairs: Second Case From Left

Upstairs: Second Case From Right

Upstairs: Far Right Case

Space Launch Memorabilia

Badge Frame   Apollo 11 Promotion

On loan from Joe Brostek

Joe Brostek, QC '55 and current QC Director of Special Events and Alumni Affairs, had some exciting times in public relations with both Continental Can and RCA. His Apollo 11 promotion for Continental Can, as well as space launch memorabilia from his job at RCA are in the exhibit.

Airline Ordered to Hire A Negro, NY Times, March 10, 1960. 
"The State Commission against discrimination has ordered Capital Airlines, which serves many of the Southern cities, to abandon a policy of barring Negroes from flying jobs... (and) directs the airline to hire its first Negro stewardess, a 22 year old Jamaica, Queens woman." The woman is Patricia Banks, identified in the article as a "Queens College evening student." More in an article about an exhibit on Capital Airlines at

According to an earlier NY Times article on July 13, 1959 (State Gets Negro's Anti-Bias Charge), Miss Banks had prepared herself by graduating from a program at Grace Downs Air Career School in NY; more from the article - the program "trains hostesses for Capital," and then she was "rejected after an interview." 

Grace Downs started as a modeling school, and later became a modeling and airline career school.   We remember a QC student in the 1970s who was considering dropping out of QC and moving on to an exciting career by going to Grace Downs, which by then had moved to Great Neck.

First Day Cover - 60th Anniversary - Tuskegee Airmen, 50th Anniversary Korean War, 100th Anniversary of Flight - July 27, 2003. Capt. Roscoe Brown, whose plane and signature are on the cover, distinguished himself in WWII as part of the Tuskegee Airmen, a segregated unit of the US Army Air Corps.  This is the same Dr. Roscoe Brown who later became President of CUNY's Bronx Community College.

An article in the NY Times of August 21, 1995 is headed For A Black Squadron, an Enemy not German.  Military racism as evidenced by the story of the black pilots who were called the Tuskegee Airmen is the subject of this article. There was "almost unendurable pressure to prevent them from flying in combat," and only "at the intervention of Eleanor Roosevelt" was the restriction was lifted. 

Downstairs: Standalone Case on Left

With airplanes as with computers, it's what's inside that counts!
Front panel of an etower 400i computer
This is just a panel --- there's nothing  inside. 

Mark II Flight Control System Joystick
Did you know that the popular joystick was not made for computer games?  It was created as an airplane control.

Large tubular container - Radio Shack / Enercell alkaline battery
Design issues related to the source, efficency, availability, and cost of power apply to aviation as well as to many other technologies, and can make or break that technology.
Formats - Which Will Last Longest? 
What strategies can make other formats last longer?  Do we convert from format to format?  Do we make all equipment backward compatable? Do we keep buying new versions?  Do we keep all the old equipment going as long as we can?  Are there advantages of one format over another?
Audio Cd: Fly Me to the Moon, Judy Garland
"Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars..."  Sounds wonderful to us!

Book: Tomorrow's World - Space Technology, Max Whitby
Is "Tomorrow's World" of this book now today?  What's on the horizon for tomorrow? It's always exciting to speculate - and sometimes we may even get it right.

Super 8 movie: Apollo 11- Man on the Moon - Official Nasa Film

Book: The Big Silver Space Shuttle, Ken Wilson-Max, Scholastic Books, David Bennett Books Ltd, 1996.

Boxed Set of 3 vhs vido tapes: The Last Great Adventure

CD-ROM: Encyclopedia of Space and the Universe / Eyewitness: the Ultimate Interactive Guide to Space

Downstairs: Left Side /Wall Mounted Display Case

Balloon Sails Over river - New York Times, April 3, 1906
The Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk was 1903.  In 1906, there was still great excitement as a manned balloon flies over river toward Queens and lands safely after 50 minute flight. "... Wife was anxious to be the first to greet her husband..." and "...automobiles crossed on a ferry to Astoria" so "they were on the spot when the ball came to earth."

Auto and Aero Clubs Now Allied,
New York Times, March 28, 1909
"...Following the Paris plan..."

Hudson Fulton Celebration
Postcard - 1909,
Valentine Sons Pub Co., New York.
Postcard commemorating the major celebration in New York City in 1909, celebrating anniversaries of two major events - one related to the Hudson River, and the other related to the steamboat.
Photo of Wilbur Wright over Governor's Island, 1909.  From The World
as it Was – 1865-1921 – A Photographic Portrait from the Keystone Mast Collection, Margarett Loke, editor, Summitt Books, NY, 1980, p. 172-173.
Probably one of the historic flights during the September 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York Harbor.  According to the New York Times of September 30, 1909, Wilbur Wright attached a canoe to his plane for his first flight around NY harbor  – are we imagining it or is the canoe in this picture?

Wright Aeroplane Flies Over the Bay, From the New York Times, September 30, 1909.
“… Balloons traversing the empyrean are no new site to New Yorkers or anyone else. But the biggest part of
New York until yesterday had never seen the thing itself – a Captain of a real aeroplane lift himself into the air high enough for millions to see and applaud him.  One of the most alluring parts of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration advertisements had been that the city and its visitors would have that long-desired opportunity during this celebration. And yesterday they had it…”

High Frontier - The History of Aeronautics in Pennsylvania, William F. Trimble.

New York City Postcards with Planes in Background
Triborough Bridge, Manhattan Post Card Publishing Co., Inc., N.Y.C.
Statue of Liberty – Pride of New York Harbor, Irving Underhill, N.Y. 360.
Statue of Liberty, Manhattan Post Card Publishing Co., Inc., N.Y.C.

Inventors in other areas are active in the exciting new field of aviation:
Ulysses Grant Scott and The Aeronautic School of Engineers.  From The Museum of the City of
New York’s website at

1910 November 15 - The Aeronautic School of Engineers opens at 312 West 53rd St., Henry Winter, founder, Ulysses Grant Scott, co-founder. Mr. Winter is a nineteen-year-old aviation enthusiast who has never been off the ground, and Mr. Scott is an African-American car mechanic who has made two biplanes by hand, and converts Model "T" automobile motors to fit airplanes. The school offers practical, hands-on lessons inbiplane construction in Manhattan year round, and flying lessons at the Mineola field in warm weather.
Edison Invents His Own Aeroplane, from The New York Times, December 1, 1910.
“… Every morning I get a stack of letters …from aeroplane cranks who are worrying their heads off because I have neglected to manifest an interest in aviation…”  He tells the interviewer he did submit a patent for one “… a long time ago…”

200 Flying Experts Will Aid the NavyEdison Organizes then Into the American Society of Aeronautical Engineers, from The New York Times, July 23, 1915

Train Airmen Now, Alex G. Bell Urges, From The New York Times,January 17, 1916.
“…Bell, one of the pioneer experimenters in aeronautics…” asks “How are we going to get these aviators trained before the occasion comes for their use in war?...We must find use for them in peace… use the flying machine in the Post Office, where the government can assist us…”


The Astronauts, Dinah L. Moche, 1978.
"A Random House Pictureback." Child's book.

Picture of an orbiter
landing - with open drag shute
Picture of an orbiter
flying piggyback on another plane
Aren't they pretty?

NYS Aviation Museums / Celebrate Flight Passport in NYS
This NYS Aviation Alliance handout lists many participating aviation museums of all sizes in NYS.
NY Hall of Science - Where Minds Play!
5,4,3,2,1, Blast Off! The Sky’s the Limit at the New York Hall of Science - From Queens Family, October 2004.
The newly refurbished Rocket Park will soon be ready,  The Rocket Park is from the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
Cradle of Aviation Museum - Newsday / Official Visitors Guide
"There's magic in the air!"  We think so too!

Video: There Goes a Spaceship

Space Exploration, Boy Scouts of America / Merit Badge Series booklet, 1983. *** 2002 printing of 1995 revision.

Skywriting and Skytyping
It Happened in New York – 1922: Captain Cyril Turner Introduces Skywriting in NYC. From Newsday, September 2, 2004
2004 photo of kiely hall with skytyping above it

Four NY City metro cards - "make the jfk connection / airtrain jfk"

Russian text book with space exploration images on cover

Downstairs: Right Side /Wall Mounted Display Case

More at QC

Puerto Rico Seeks to Curb

Angels to Add Color

Sea Rescue Demo


Aeriel Surveys
Will make state aeriel surveys - NYTimes - May 25, 1938
Contract awarded to Aeriel Explorations Inc of LIC and to a Rochester company for aeriel surveys in NYS.
Postcard / Aeriel Photo of Statue of Liberty on Bedloes Island / Ellis Island New York Bay by Aeriel Explorations, Inc

Catalog for A La Carte - A Sampling of Menus /  Exhibit in NY Hist Society Reading Room
Cover shows menu of Coffee shop at La G

The Big Plane Trip Video, Time-Life Kids

The Institute for Aviation Safety Flight Handbook and Airport Guide, April 1 - July 31, 1974 Eastern Edition
On loan from Helene Guidice

N B Airport named for curtiss

AFROTC and its meaning


Air Pioneer Killed

Flugshiff Do-X Uber NY
Article Red Cross

Air Ferry

Curtiss Poster

Air pioneer killed

Low fares

Aircraft noise

Your Flight Questions Answered by a Jetliner Pilot, John Cronin,  Plymouth Press ltd, Vermont, 1998.

Song Airplane Model - try me - with sound.

Voices of Old Technology - A Museum in the Making

Y2K Bug Stuffed Animal

Curator: Syd Lefkoe
Member, Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)
Member, Oral History Association

Curatorial and Aquisitions Assistance by:

Steve Barto, Jeff Castellan, Steve Cohn, Helene Guidice, Ellen Rondot, Jack Verga, and Nancy Williams

Our "Museum in the Making" is not an official museum of the College. 
Still in the "startup" stage, it is a
Member, American Association of Museums (AAM)

Photos in the exhibit are by Syd Lefkoe and Ellen Rondot

Technology and Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities
CUNY's Statement on Accessibility
Web Site of the CUNY University Faculty Senate Committee on Disabilities Issues 

Bobby WorldWide Approved 508

© copyright 2004 by Syd Lefkoe

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