In order to foster manned flight, the Third International Conference on Aerial Navigation was held in conjunction with the World's Columbian Exposition. Staged in an adjacent hall to the world's first Engineering Conference in the World Congress Art Hall[] during the first week of August, 1893.


Over 100 delegates from around the world assembled

 Nearly 50 speakers presented their findings on balloons, kites, gliders, engines, and theoretical aspects of flight.

The catalyst for the Conference was Albert Zahm, who taught mechanical engineering at Notre Dame University. Zahm convinced Octave Chanute to organize it along the lines of the Congres Internationale d'Aeronautique which Chanute attended in 1989. Initially skeptical of the quality of response the Conference would draw, Chanute was aided  by members of the Western Society of Engineers

The following year, Chanute compiled the presentations and published them as the Proceedings on the International Conference of Aerial Navigation.[1]

[]The building was located at Lake Front Park and Adams St. and is now occupied by the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1879 and changed its name to the Art Institute in 1892. Following the close of the World Columbian Exposition, it moved into its present location.


[1] Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane 1875–1905; by Tom D. Crouch; Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989, p. 78-100.

  Locomotive to Aeromotive: Octave Chanute and the Transportation Revolution; by Simine Short; : Urbana, Chicago & Springfield IL; University of Illinois Press, 2011, p. 197-201.

 Balloons to Jets: A Century of Aviation in Illinois 1855–1955; Howard L. Scamehorn; Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000, p. 22-26.

 Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City; Stevenson Swanson, ed.; Wheaton IL: Cantigny First Division Foundation, 1997, p. 42-43.

  Proceedings of the International Conference on Aerial Navigation; Octave Chanute, ed.; New York: American Railroad and Engineer Journal, 1894, 1997; accessed 6/5/2017; also on Google Books

NIU-Lib [online] “Octave Chanute, The Chicago Connection and the Birth of Aviation;" by Roger D. Launius; Northern Illinois University Library; accessed 2/1/2018.  "Octave Chanute at NIU Library online

LincBeach [online]; "Cicero Flying Field: Origin, Operation, Obscurity and Legacy—1891 to 1916"; by Carroll Gray; updated 2013; accessed 5/5/2017.  "Cicero Flying Field" at Lincoln Beachey site 

Disciples_Flight [online]; "Octave Chanute’s Contributions Had a Far-Reaching Impact on Aviation;" by Anders Clark; Disciples of Flight, updated June 22, 2016; accessed 2/1/2018.  "Octave Chanute" at Disciples of Flight