|Melvin Vaniman and his adventurous pal, Kiddo.|
No, Melvin gained a worldwide reputation as an innovative panoramic photographer, creating promotional images in far off places like Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia. Many of his beautiful images were shot from hot air balloons, using his own “swing-lens” camera design to capture full 360×180 degree panoramic images.
|This is the type of panoramic photography Vaniman became noted for - taken from a balloon.|
Through almost all of his adventures, Vaniman was accompanied by a faithful friend and traveling mascot, Kiddo — a tabby that came to be well-known as “The Airship Cat.” During his initial attempt to cross the ocean, Kiddo (who had been a stowaway in the airship's lifeboat) ecame quite disruptive inside the airship’s gondola, causing Vaniman to radio his launch boat to “come and get this goddam cat!” Fortunately, the tabby was among the crew later rescued.
Melvin Vaniman named his second airship Akron at the request of Frank Seiberling, who agreed to have Goodyear manufacture the craft's giant gas bag. Airship development was still in its infancy; Goodyear was just getting started in its lighter-than-air efforts, and it would be a few years before Goodyear’s airships and zeppelins became well known around the world.
|A promotional post card for Vanima's Trans-Atlantic expedition.|
|Vaniman's airship "Akron" - a photo taken as it left on its final journey.|