1830 . prussia . germany
1923 . texas . usa

Charles Dellschau arrived in the U.S. (Galveston, Texas) from his native Prussia in the 1850s. We do not know what he did after his arrival, some think he lived in California, in Sonora and Columbia, in the company of German scientists. These scientists would have founded a secret society, Sonora Aero Club, inventing airplanes, more than fifty years before the Wright brothers’ flight ; Dellschau would have worked as their designer. At the time of the Civil War Dellschau married a young widow, with a daughter, and became a butcher in Fort Bend County near Houston. He had two children. In 1877 his life fell apart : his wife and his six-year-old son died. In 1886 Dellschau moved to Houston, where he worked for Stelzig, a saddle manufacturer. He retired in 1900 and died in 1923, at the age of ninety-three. During the last years of his life he developed a secret hobby : he produced dozens of books filled with collages, writings and drawings of imaginary aircrafts, claiming that these were the inventions of his Sonora Aero Club colleagues. These brightly colored flying machines were apparently fuelled by gas distilled from coal, which Dellschau called Supe.

Dellschau’s books were found in a flea market in the 1960s - eight of them have been acquired by museums in Texas (Menil Collection, San Antonio Museum of Art, De Witte Museum). His last book has been preserved in the abcd collection. 

Book no. 12 to see this work