Dellschau was a butcher by trade who, after his retirement in 1899, filled at least 13 notebooks with drawings, watercolor paintings and collages depicting fantastical airships. He lived and worked in an attic apartment in Houston, Texas. Dellschau’s earliest known work is a diary dated 1899, and the latest is an 80-page book dated 1921-1922, giving his career as an artist a 21-year span. His work was in large part a record of the activities of the Sonora Aero Club, of which he was a purported member. Dellschau’s writings describe the club as a secret group of flight enthusiasts who met at Sonora, California in the mid-19th century. One of the members had discovered the formula for an anti-gravity fuel he called “NB Gas.” Their mission was to design and build the first navigable aircraft using the NB Gas for lift and propulsion. Dellschau called these flying machines Aeros.
According to a coded story hidden throughout the drawings which made up his notebooks the Sonora Aero Club was a branch of a larger secret society known only as NYMZA. Despite exhaustive research, including searches of census records, voting rosters, and death records, nothing has been found to substantiate the existence of this group except for a few gravestones in the Columbia Cemetery where several of the surnames are found.
The entire body of work was discarded into a landfill in Houston Texas but, luckily was salvaged by used furniture dealer Fred Washington who took them to his warehouse where they ended up under a pile of discarded carpet. Mary Jane Victor, a student at St. Thomas University asked Mr. Washington to lend some of the books to the University for a display they were putting on representing the story of flight.
It is believed that Dellschau began his airship drawings shortly after a wave of sightings of “mystery airships” in 1896-1897.
Volar es una metáfora profundamente enraizada en el ser humano que encarna su ambición por ejecutar todo aquello para lo que no ha sido diseñado. Mucho antes de que los hermanos Wright realizaran el primer vuelo con motor de la historia en 1903, Charles Dellschau (1830-1923) ya creía conocer los secretos que permitirían al fin construir la máquina de volar. Dedicó toda su energía desde la jubilación (era carnicero en Texas) a completar cuadernos de notas de gran formato en los que desarrollaba estos artilugios. Se cree que Dellschau comenzó sus dibujos de naves poco después de de una ola de observacionesde aeronaves misteriosos en 1896-1897.