Talk:George Cayley

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sounds too much like a high school report. a bit gushy at times. the tone is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. 17:38, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

first, Cayley...

is now widely acknowledged as the inventor of the science of aerodynamics


his aeronautical work largely sank into obscurity.

aren't these a bit incongruous? he is "widely" regarded as the first aerodynamicist, but nobody today knows why (?). no engineer or scientist thinks like that. 17:45, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

according to the external link:

However, Sir George Cayley's endeavors (including in areas other than aeronautics) have hardly been forgotten, for he is seen as, perhaps, the single most important aerial researcher and theoretician of his time. 00:55, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The article says he invented all these things and that his work "fell into obscurity". This is correct. He did good scientific work, and published it, but it was fifty years before anybody followed it up. That is hardly his fault. What have you got against the bloke? User:GrahamN 24 Oct 2004

I have nothing against Cayley, stop assuming that I do. Where did I say otherwise? I said that the article sounded contradictory. I didn't blame Cayley for anything. The article was confusing because it would at one point aknowledge the fame of his achievements, then say that that fame did not exist. I now understand that it was intended to mean he was not recognized widely at first, but today is. That was and is not clear in the article.
Also, please tell me what was wrong with my sentence structure. What do you have against conciseness? And justify the frivolous anecdotes and immature tone which you seem to prefer in encyclopædic writing.
For what I consider to be a good, well-written academic overview of Cayley's achievements, please read any one of J. Anderson's books on the relevant subjects. ✈ James C. 19:09, 2004 Oct 24 (UTC)
P.S. note that in my quoting of an external link, I was attempting to prove Cayley's recognition and importance today. And I have something against the "bloke"?

Arthur Cayley[edit]

Cousin or Nephew? It says both. Jooler 10:53, 7 May 2006 (UTC)


Accoring to a magazine article I read but cannot cite since I didn't note the ref., his manned glider was not steerable and it flew 270 meters. This is about double the distance the german wik gives in its cynical article (allegd flight).

Fair use rationale for Image:Cayley Glider Replica Flown By Derek Piggott 2.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 21:45, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Power to weight ratio[edit]

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Cayley did calculations of the power-to-weight ratio of an engine needed for powered flight. He concluded that no engine then existing had the required ratio so he concentrated on gliders. True? Jagdfeld (talk) 22:09, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Could be - the only engines available at the time were steam engines, and they have a poor power-to-weigh ratio.
He made several models that were powered by rubber bands in the same manner as 'rubber-powered' models available today. One was based on an 'A-frame' with twin pusher propellers at the rear, IIRC. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:20, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

First glide[edit]

Removed sentence about first heavier than air flight because claims exist for earlier such flights/glides. The subject of "first" is quite controversial. See also these articles (which are referenced at end of Cayley article): List of early flying machines; First flying machine. DonFB (talk) 18:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

where they got the idea of that airfoil shape[edit]

Nice article.

I was thinking - how about grounding the article in terms of where they got the idea of that airfoil shape. I discovered that sailors have been talking about lift and that airfoil shape since Egypt ruled, it's really a basic principle of sailing. I think I'm going to copy this to the wiki reference on wing as well.

When I started looking into this I thought these guys like George Cayley were pretty esoteric thinkers to just sit there with Bernoulli's Equation in the 1700's and come up with the airfoil. If you look at it, he was just describing a long-known phenomenon in the lab. In fact I'm a little shocked at how long it took to develop the airplane wing, historically speaking. We've known this for a real long time. This may be obvious you folks on the coast, but it wasn't obvious to this land lubber.

Just a sentence in the intro like...

Pb8bije6a7b6a3w (talk) 21:08, 12 February 2013 (UTC)


Does the article really need the duplicate references and very lengthy quotes they contain?TheLongTone (talk) 11:42, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

The current format of the citations also make the text very hard to edit. I suggest that the quotations and the citations are separated and the citations are broken into short and long references. -- PBS (talk) 10:15, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Personally I think these long citations are a bad idea. If the material is significant to the topic, it should go in the main text. if it is not then a simple citation of the sources is enough. There is no rule that the content of the source should be rubbed in our faces. If there is a content dispute then it needs to be resolved here, not in the citation notes. Readers of the article should not be exposed to our dirty laundry. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 11:56, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Reinventing the wheel[edit]

It is said often enough that Cayley "reinvented the wheel". The phrase is a well-known cliché and therefore introduces light-hearted overtones which are not part of Cayley's story. Citable sources are naturally aware of the overtones when they deliberately use the phrase to describe Cayley's tension-spoked wheel. Should we repeat it because it is well-known and citable, or should we paraphrase it to avoid those irrelevant overtones? — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 21:44, 20 December 2015 (UTC)

use the phrase, but place a footnote to explain it (after the next punctuation mark), for those ... who do not understand such humour. -- PBS (talk) 23:37, 20 December 2015 (UTC)
Omission in my edit summary of "not," as in "does not have to be entirely stodgy" was inadvertent. In any case, the choice of phrasing is not essential to understanding the topic at hand. I believe, however, that no one reading the mildly idiomatic expression will be at all confused about the meaning of the sentence. The phrase can indeed mean other things, figuratively, but here it is both literal and slightly figurative. Native English speakers will, I believe, appreciate the flavor of the phrase and non-native speakers can simply take it literally if they haven't seen it before. No one will misunderstand what's being said. DonFB (talk) 10:26, 21 December 2015 (UTC)
The accidental omission of "not" was evident, no problem there. Your own personal belief, however, that "no one reading the mildly idiomatic expression will be at all confused" is not a criterion for how things should be worded in wikipedia. For one thing, I was confused by the idiom because I'm familiar with the idiom. Because it relied only on the idiom, the wording was not clear that he invented a new way of constructing a wheel. The idiom alone is insufficiently clear.
If you like the phrase, and if the phrase is indeed frequently used about Caley's "new method of constructing a wheel" then it can certainly be used. If it is used, it should meet some basic requirements:
1) The fact that it's frequently used should be cited in secondary sources. Or, at a minimum, a secondary source should use the phrase. I.e., one editor thinking it's cute isn't good enough. And, "the phrase is cute" or "the alternative is dry and not cute enough" is not a valid reason for inclusion of cutsey, unencyclopedic phraseology.
2) It should be surrounded by other text that clarifies that what he did was to invent a new lightweight method of constructing a wheel. "Reinvented the wheel" by itself is not specific and clear enough to describe what he did. (talk) 04:46, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
I took a stab at some wording that might work for all of us. I'm still confused what was/is meant by "using string as wires". Did his wheels use string as the tension element instead of wire (like a bicycle spoke)? (talk) 05:02, 22 December 2015 (UTC)
I just rewrote the string vs. wire bit. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 10:40, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

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The family owned land at Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay. He is commemorated there by the Cayley Arms pub, and the Cayley Promenade. (talk) 16:39, 30 July 2016 (UTC)