Otto Lilienthal was born
in Anklam on 23rd May, 1848. After studying mathematics and bird
studies he trained as a mechanical engineering at the Royal Technical
Academy in Berlin (1867-1870).
Lilienthal fought in
the German-French War before finding employment at a mechanical
engineering company in Berlin (1871-1880). Lilienthal joined the
Aeronautical Society and began to give public lectures on the theory
In 1874 Lilienthal began
building models of flying machines. He also worked in other fields
and invented a machine used in mining and marketed Anker-Steinbaukasten
(stone building blocks for children). In 1881 Lilienthal established
his own mechanical engineering company building boilers and steam
engines. A progressive employer, Lilienthal introduced a 25% profit
sharing scheme for the workers in his company. He was also active
in the development of Berlin's Volkstheater (People's Theatre).
Bird Flight as a Basis for Aviation
in 1889. In the book he argued that birds produce thrust by the
action of their outer primary feathers. In 1893 he built a flapping
wing machine driven by a motor. He also began building gliders.
He successfully demonstrated the superiority of cambered wings over
flat wings and achieved glides of more than a 1,000 feet (300 m).
As a result of Lilienthal's experiments gliding became a popular
sport in Germany.
Otto Lilienthal was killed
on 10th August, 1896, while flying one of his gliders in Berlin.