Charles M. Manly

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Charles Matthews Manly (1876–1927) was an American engineer.

Charles M. Manly
Charles Manly and Samuel Langley.
Born(1876-04-26)April 26, 1876
Staunton, Virginia, US
DiedOctober 16, 1927(1927-10-16) (aged 51)
Brooklyn, New York, US
Alma materCornell University
OccupationMechanical engineer
Known forLangley Aerodrome
SpouseGrace Agnes Wishart (1877–1921) (her death)

Manly helped Smithsonian Institution Secretary Samuel Pierpont Langley build The Great Aerodrome, which was intended to be a manned, powered, winged flying machine. Manly made major contributions to the development of the aircraft's revolutionary 52 hp gasoline-fueled radial engine, called the Manly–Balzer engine. Manly attempted to pilot the Aerodrome in its only two tests, October and December 1903. The machine failed to fly both times, plunging into the Potomac River after its launch from a houseboat. Manly was rescued unhurt, although he was briefly trapped underwater after the second test.[1]

The Great Aerodrome failed in its first test, October 7, 1903.

During World War I Manly was an advisor to the British War Office. He also earned about 40 patents in variable-speed hydraulic drives.

From 1915 to 1919 he was a consulting engineer to the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company.[2]

In 1919 he was named president of the Society of Automotive Engineers (now SAE International). Following his tenure he did additional engineering research on engines. The Manly Memorial Medal is an annual award given by SAE for the best paper on aeronautical power plants.[3]

Manly married his wife Grace Agnes Wishart Manly (1877–1921) in 1904. He died at Kew Gardens, Brooklyn, NY on October 16, 1927, leaving two sons, Charles and John.[4]

He was a 1929 posthumous recipient of the Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution.


  1. ^ "Langley Aerodrome A - National Air and Space Museum". Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2023-02-25.
  2. ^ "Manly Medal Established" (PDF). CORNELL ALUMNI NEWS. Corning, NY. 1928-10-18. p. 42. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  3. ^ Veal, C. B. (April 1939). "Manley, The Engineer". SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Journal: 145–153.
  4. ^ "C.M. Manly dies; Aviation Pioneer". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. 1927-10-18.

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