Henri Farman

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Henri Farman
Henry Farman.jpg
Born(1874-05-26)26 May 1874
Died17 July 1958(1958-07-17) (aged 84)
Other namesHenry Farman
RelativesMaurice Farman, Richard Farman

Henri Farman (26 May 1874 – 17 July 1958)[1] was an Anglo-French aviator and aircraft designer and manufacturer with his brother Maurice Farman. Before dedicating himself to aviation he gained fame as a sportsman, specifically in cycling[2] and motor racing. Henri took French nationality in 1937.[1]

Family & Early Life[edit]

Henri Farman was born in Paris, France, and was baptised as Harry Edgar Mudford Farman. He was a son of Thomas Frederick Farman, the Paris correspondent of the London Standard. [3] His father was born in 1845 at Layer Marney, Essex, England.[4] His mother Sophia Mudford, was born in Canterbury, Kent, on the 9th of September 1841. She was baptised on the 16th of July 1844 at St Pancras Old Church in London, and was a daughter of the author William Mudford.[5][4][6]Sophia and Thomas were married at St George's Hanover Square Church London, on August the 31st 1868.[5]

Henri trained as a painter at the École des Beaux Arts, but soon became interested in the new mechanical inventions that were appearing at the end of the 19th century. He was able to pursue this interest as an amateur sportsman.[7]


He took part in cycle races from the age of fourteen, and started winning some races. Brother Maurice Farman also began cycle racing at the same age and started winning prizes.[8] Henri became a championship cyclist, and won the Paris - Clermont-Ferrand race on the 6th of June 1892.[9]In October of that year he won the French Middle Distance Championship.[10][11] In 1893, Henri went by bicycle from Paris to Madrid with the journalist, author, and French cyclist Edouard de Perrodil. Edouard published a book of this journey named Vélo ! Toro! Paris-Madrid bicyclette en 1893, which included drawings by Farman. He then took part in tandem races with his brother Maurice Farman, forming a successful partnership.[12][13]

Motor Racing[edit]

At the turn of the century, around the same time as his brother Maurice, Henri discovered motor racing. On the 17th of February 1901, he won the light car class (400 - 650kg) Grand Prix du Palais d'Hiver, of the Circuit du sud-ouest. Maurice Farman won the heavy car class of the race.[14] On the 29th of May 1901, Henri took part in the Paris-Bordeaux race and finished in seventh place. This was an open-entry race held concurrently with the 1901 Gordon Bennett Cup, and over the same course.[15] Fifth place was taken in the 1901 Paris to Berlin Race.[16] Henri won the heavy class section of the 1902 Paris - Vienna race. Marcel Renault came first in the general classification of this race.[17] He took third place in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup.[18]

Farman making the first cross-country flight accomplished with an aeroplane


After having an accident during the elimination trials for the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup,[19] Henri decided to give up motor racing, and concentrate on aviation. He started practicing in 1907 with a homemade biplane glider on the sandhills of Le Touquet, after first experimenting with model aeroplanes of different sizes.[3] Henri then decided he wanted a machine powered plane, and ordered a Voisin 1907 biplane on the 1st of June 1907.[20] He used this aircraft to set many official records for both distance and duration.

On the 26th of October 1907, at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, he made flights, among others,[21] of 363, 403, and 771 metres in the plane. And he also started to turn the plane in the air on this date.[22]The distance of 771 metres was completed in 52 seconds. It was the longest flight in the world that year, and won Farman the Ernest Archdeacon Cup.[23] He made a complete circular flight of 1,030 metres, in 1 minute 14 seconds on the 10th of November 1907 at Issy. This was the first time that a European aeroplane had completed a full circle. And the first time that an aircraft other than a Wright brothers one, had stayed in the air for longer than a minute.[20][21]

The Voisin-Farman I was also the first biplane in Europe, to fly a circular circuit of 1 kilometre, over a predetermined course, on the 13th of January 1908.[20][24] This again occurred at Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, and won Henri the 50,000 franc Grand Prix d'Aviation offered by Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe.[25][26] And on the 21st of March 1908 at the same place, he made a flight of 2.004 Kilometres. [22]

One source [27] credits Farman himself as being the first aeroplane passenger in Europe, and piloted by Leon Delagrange, on the 21st of March 1908. This however is not at all certain. Another credits Leon Delagrange as being the first passenger on an aeroplane in Europe, and piloted by Henri Farman on 29 March 1908.[28] Other sources [29][30][31] credit Ernest Archdeacon as being the first aeroplane passenger in Europe, and the pilot being Henri Farman at Ghent, on the 29th of May 1908. But the former also gives the date of the 29th of March 1908 and Leon Delagrange as being the first, and the pilot being Henri Farman, citing a book by E. C. Vivian. [29][28]

Later in 1908, on the 30th of October, Farman went on to make the first cross-country flight in Europe. Henri flew from his hangars at Camp de Châlons, Bouy,[21][12][32] to Reims, landing at the Cavalry ground. It was a distance of 27 Kilometres.[22][33][34][35][28][31]

MF.11 "Shorthorn"
The passenger transport Goliath

By early 1909, Farman fell out with Gabriel Voisin because Voisin had sold an aircraft that had been built to Farman's specifications to J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon. This aircraft was named the Bird of Passage by Brabazon.[30][36] So Henri started manufacturing aircraft to his own design. The first of these, the Farman III, first flew in April 1909. It was an immediate success and widely imitated.[37][38]

In 1909, he opened a flying school at Châlons-sur-Marne at which George Bertram Cockburn was the first pupil.[39] In this same year he made further record breaking flights. One of 180 kilometres in just over 3 hours, at Reims on the 27th of August.[38][40] And one of 232 kilometres in 4 hours 17 minutes and 53 seconds,[41] at Mourmelon-le-Grand on the 3rd of November. In October 1909 he appeared at the Blackpool Aviation Week, Britain's first air show, at which he won over £2000 in prizes.[42]

In partnership with his two brothers Maurice and Richard (Dick), he built a highly successful and innovative aircraft manufacturing plant. Their 1914 model was used extensively for artillery observation and reconnaissance during World War I. The Farman Aircraft company's Goliath was the first long-distance passenger airliner, beginning regular Paris-London (Croydon Airport) flights on the 8th of February 1919.

He was made a chevalier of the French Légion d'honneur in 1919. Along with Maurice, he retired in 1937 when the French Popular Front government nationalised the aircraft industry; Farman's company becoming part of the Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques du Centre.[1]

Henry Farman took French nationality in 1937.

He died in Paris and is buried in the Cimetière de Passy in Paris.[43]

In 1988, Farman was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.[44]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Flight obituary
  2. ^ "Henri Farman palmares on CyclingRanking.com". CyclingRanking.com.
  3. ^ a b "CHAPTER THREE; AWAKENING IN FRANCE."Contact! The Story Of The Early Aviators.pp38-39.Unabridged republication of the revised edition of Contact! The Story Of The Early Birds, copyright the Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1987, Dover Publications 2002, New York. Accessed via Google books. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  4. ^ a b "England and Wales Census, 1871", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VF8G-DFL : 27 September 2019), Thomas Farman in entry for Frederick Mudford, 1871. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b "City of Westminster Archives Centre; London, England; Westminster Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: STC/PR/1/2."Ancestry.com. Westminster, London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1935 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2020.Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  6. ^ "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NYY9-XZQ : 24 March 2020), Sophia Ann Louisa Mudford, 1844.Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  7. ^ "Henry Farman" Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  8. ^ "FARMAN: 1904." From Motoring Annual and Motorist’s Year Book 1904, via Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Paris - Clermont-Ferrand 1892." Accessed via CyclingRanking.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Henri Farman, Champion de France du 100 kilomètre en octobre 1892." File:Henri Farman, Champion de France du 100 kilomètre en octobre 1892.jpg, 26 August 2017, from La Revue des sports, Paris 8th of October 1892. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Championnat de France de demi-fond." Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre. 18 sept. 2019, 08:51 UTC. 18 sept. 2019, 08:51 <http://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Championnat_de_France_de_demi-fond&oldid=162771410>.
  12. ^ a b Henri Farman. (2020, juin 26). Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre. Page consultée le 07:08, juin 26, 2020 à partir de http://fr.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henri_Farman&oldid=172358678.
  13. ^ "1902 Who's Who in Light Cars: Farman"Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  14. ^ Wikipedia contributors. (2020, May 11). Pau Grand Prix. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:13, August 15, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pau_Grand_Prix&oldid=956005921
  15. ^ "1901 Paris-Bordeaux Race." Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  16. ^ "1901 Paris-Berlin Race." Grace's Guide To British Industrial History. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  17. ^ "A View of the Race.By Charles Jarrott, competitor in the 1902 Paris to Vienna race."From Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing,E.P.Dutton and Company, New York, Charles Jarrott, 1906, pp131-154. Accessed via The Motor Miscellany. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  18. ^ Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 25). 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:41, August 15, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1903_Gordon_Bennett_Cup&oldid=964440071
  19. ^ "The Farman Brothers: Maurice and Henry." From Ten Years of Motors and Motor Racing,E.P.Dutton and Company, New York, Charles Jarrott, 1906, pp214-215. Accessed via The Motor Miscellany. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  20. ^ a b c "Voisin-Farman I." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., Tom D. Crouch, January 27, 2010.Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  21. ^ a b c "HENRI FARMAN, 1874 -1958: FARMAN CHRONOLOGY" From Early Aviators.com. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  22. ^ a b c "Progress of Mechanical Flight" Flight, 2 January 1909, p.12. Accessed via the Internet Archive, Wayback Machine. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  23. ^ "THIS DAY IN AVIATION.IMPORTANT DATES IN AVIATION HISTORY:Tag Archives: Ernest Archdeacon: 26 October 1907."Bryan R. Swopes, 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  24. ^ "History Of Flight: Other Aviation Pioneers." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., December 03, 2018.Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  25. ^ ""Prize Patrol", from Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company, a virtual museum of pioneer aviation". Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2008.
  26. ^ * Johnstone, Rupert (April 1908). "The Derby of the Air: How Mr. Farman Won The Blue Ribbon of Aeronautics". The World's Work: A History of Our Time. XV: 10127–10132.
  27. ^ "Henry Farman: Grace's Guide To British Industrial History." Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  28. ^ a b c "A HISTORY OF AERONAUTICS: XVII. A SUMMARY, TO 1911." by E. Charles Vivian, 1920. Accessed from The Project Gutenberg EBook of A History of Aeronautics, by E. Charles Vivian. July 26, 2008 [EBook #874]. Produced by Dianne Bean, and David Widger. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  29. ^ a b Wikipedia contributors. (2020, January 15). Ernest Archdeacon. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:22, August 10, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ernest_Archdeacon&oldid=935834794
  30. ^ a b Wikipedia contributors. (2020, May 5). Voisin 1907 biplane. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:50, August 11, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Voisin_1907_biplane&oldid=954976056
  31. ^ a b "Henry Farman.The First Passengers and the First Cross-Country."Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  32. ^ "Grace's Guide To British Industrial History: Early Flight Records." From Flight' magazine, 1910. Retrieved 12 August 2020.'
  33. ^ Farman: The Aircraft, the Automobiles,Gijsbert-Paul Berk. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  34. ^ "Scientific American, Vol.XCIX 21 November 1908, issue21, cover."Munn & Co, New York. From Wikimedia Commons. Rerieved 12 August 2020.
  35. ^ "Le premier Voyage en Aéroplane." Le Matin, October 31, 1908: Gallica bnf.fr.National Library of France. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  36. ^ Wikipedia contributors. (2019, November 11). Farman Aviation Works. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:53, August 11, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Farman_Aviation_Works&oldid=925674299
  37. ^ Wikipedia contributors. (2020, July 23). Farman III. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:28, August 11, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Farman_III&oldid=969114275
  38. ^ a b "Farman III." Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., Tom D. Crouch, April 04, 2008.Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  39. ^ Villard, Henry (1987) Contact! The Story of the Early Aviators, Smithsonian Institution Press, ISBN 0-486-42327-1
  40. ^ Wikipedia contributors. (2020, March 4). Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:11, August 11, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Grande_Semaine_d%27Aviation_de_la_Champagne&oldid=943904368
  41. ^ "ONE YEAR OF FLYING AND FLIGHT. A 1909 RETROSPECT: The Unbroken Chain Of Events"Flight, No.53, Vol.II, No.1, p.3. Accessed via the Internet Archive, Wayback Machine. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  42. ^ "Blackpool Aviation Week Report". Flight magazine. 30 October 1909.
  43. ^ Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 12 August 2020), memorial page for Henri Farman (26 May 1874–18 Jul 1958), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7163, citing Cimetiere de Passy, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  44. ^ Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.

External links[edit]

Media related to Henri Farman at Wikimedia Commons