Horatio Claude Barber is a somewhat forgotten figure from the pioneering days of “heavier than air” flight. Although well documented at the time, his considerable contribution to aviation is often overlooked in the history books. His achievements, if mentioned at all, tend to lie in the shadow of more famous aviators such as Cody, A. V. Roe, Graham-Wright, and Sopwith.
Airy Somethings is a book to reset the balance in that respect, and will hopefully put Barber in his rightful place in aviation history.
But there is much more.
Barber had an exceptional life of peaks and troughs throughout his career. We see him travel extensively across the world and involving himself in a variety of business ventures: farming, silver and gold mining, and then in the 1910s, aeroplane design, construction, and piloting. In later years he was author, insurance broker, hotelier, and colonial development officer. Throughout, the nature of his businesses ranged from bona fide to unethical to outright scams. Although at certain times he was a prodigious self-publicist, he managed to keep most of his less-moral adventures out of the limelight. This side of the aviation pioneer has never before been told and is a fascinating story of an extraordinary man.
Let’s build something together.