Arago: Pioneer Period (1783-1918)

Pioneer Period (1783-1918)

Over Water Flight cover

Scott Catalogue USA: 332
American Air Mail Catalog: 26

With Chicago postmaster's approval, the Milwaukee Journal newspaper sponsored a ninety-three mile trip - Chicago to Milwaukee — by Farnum T. Fish. Fish departed Cicero Flying Field at 11:06 a.m. and arrived in Milwaukee at 1:24 p.m. His cargo included a 300-pound bundle of silk and a mail sack comprised entirely of several hundred covers being sent by W. Herman Black, the Journal's advertising manager. Authorities in Chicago postmarked the covers at 10:30 a.m.; they bear a Milwaukee backstamp of 3:00 p.m. Fish flew a standard Wright B Flyer and Fish made the over-water flight in record time - two hours and eighteen minutes.

The letters contained an enclosure that read, "Greetings to you and yours, this letter comes to you via the first airship that made the flight between Chicago and Milwaukee. W. Herman Black, Advertising Manager of the Milwaukee Journal." The envelopes had a corner card of the newspaper.

A cachet was applied later to each envelope, as seen in this example addressed to Mr. Phil Carpeles, Carpeles Trunk Company, Milwaukee. It reads, "CARRIED BY FARNUM T. FISH / IN RECORD BREAKING AEROPLANE TRIP / BETWEEN CHICAGO AND MILWAUKEE." The postmark reads, "CHICAGO, ILL. / May 25 / 10:30 A.M. / 1912." A seven-line killer bar with "16" and "D" cancels the 2-cent Washington stamp.

There are presently three known covers from this flight, two held by museums.

May 25, 1912
paper; ink
Museum ID:
Place of Origin:
Chicago, Illinois
Place of Destination:
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Benjamin K. Miller Stamp Collection, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

  • 1912 Chicago to Milwaukee over water flight
  • 1912 Chicago to Milwaukee flight cover
Additional Records
  • Hydro-aeroplane flight postal card
  • Hydro-aeroplane flight postal card
  • Hydro-aeroplane flight postal card
  • Hydro-aeroplane flight postal card
  • Katherine Stinson Red Cross Flight clipping and card
  • New York Times aerial flight postal card
  • Old Home Week Flying Exhibition postcard
  • Over Water Flight cover
  • Over Water Flight letter
  • Parcel post flight cover
  • Putney Memorial Hospital Exhibition Flights postal card
  • Taussig US first airmail flight signed by Woodrow Wilson cover and letter

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