Charles H. Metz and the Wings Over Waltham

Charles H. Metz (1863-1937) was a pioneer in transportation. Beginning by manufacturing his Orient bicycles, made by his Waltham Manufacturing Company and renowned as being some of the fastest racing bikes in the world, he branched out successfully into automobile manufacture and motorcycles (some credit him with first using the term "motor-cycle"). We have examples of all three of types of Metz's vehicles here in our collection at the Charles River Museum.

The only place to go from there was up. Literally. Metz attempted to produce and market a "Metz Air-Car" in 1911, but it supposedly only one was ever built. That same year, he purchased the Gore Mansion in Waltham and surrounding grounds and set up the "Metz Aerodrome" where on June 16-18th he held an aviation meet.

We can't confirm if these picture postcards are from that weekend aviation meet, but it's interesting to consider the idea of airplanes taking off and buzzing about the Gore Estate. Indeed, it's almost as remarkable a concept as the notion of the venerable and stately Gore Mansion being referred to by anyone as a "club house"... 

The manufacturing plant he would set up on the 120 acres surrounding the Gore Estate would unfortunately never produce his own aircraft. Instead his facilities were drafted for use by the U.S. military for DeHavilland airplane production during the First World War–a development which would crush Metz financially.