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Huffman Prairie Aviation Historical Society


Huffman Prairie Aviation Historical Society Meeting

Monday, April 3, at 7pm

East Interpretive Center, Wright Memorial


Charles Snyder: Old Osborn Aviation Pioneer

Charles Snyder was a contemporary of the Wright Brothers and was experimenting with flight at the same time they were. Snyder, in fact, knew the Wright Brothers, who were frequent visitors at his blacksmith shop—and later his aeroplane factory—in Old Osborn.

It was often easier for the Wrights to take the trolley from Huffman Prairie to Snyder’s shop, a mere four miles away, than it was to travel back to their own shop in Dayton. Once in Osborn, they would have Snyder manufacture parts for their own aeroplanes, following their specifications. Snyder would then take the trolley to Huffman Prairie to deliver and help install the parts. Although virtually unknown today, in the early 1900s Snyder designed, flew, and sold aircraft of his own design. His flying field was close enough to Huffman Prairie that both he and the Wrights could see each other testing their craft. Snyder was locally well-known for his aircraft, probably as much as the Wrights were.

Like many aviation pioneers of that time, Snyder flew his planes in shows at county fairs. Sometimes he managed to sell one to a spectator if the money was right.

In the early 1920s, Snyder, seeing no profit in his own aviation endeavors, moved his shop to New Carlisle and returned to his original trade: blacksmith. From there, he disappeared into history while other aviation pioneers continued without him.

An event flyer with full information can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE. Please contact Special Collections & Archives at 937-775-2092 if you have questions.