The Baby Bullet 1928 Heath Racer. From Gene Thomas, Baby Bullet: Historic Documentation for the Aero-Historian (The Thomas Studio, 1975). Photo: Roger Lorenzen.

OVER THE COURSE OF MY ARTISTIC CAREER, I have found myself drawn to various objects as sources of inspiration. The first object to hold such fascination for me was an early airplane from the 1920s called the Heath Baby Bullet. This tiny airplane had a wingspan of 18 feet and was 14.5 feet in length. The entire plane, fully fueled, weighed less than 400 pounds and could reach a speed of 150 mph. The Baby Bullet was built in approximately two months, and the test flight was concluded in 15 minutes. In 1928, it won first place in an air race at Mines Field in Los Angeles. For me, the most amazing fact of the Baby Bullet was that no structural engineering was done on the plane, confirming my long-held notion that engineering can be intuitive. All subsequent and engineered modifications to the Baby Bullet only lowered its speed.

Bridge over the Metlac River designed by William Fairbairn in 1866 (unbuilt). Illustration from Francisco Garma Franco, Railroads in Mexico: An Illustrated History, vol. 1 (Sundance Publications, 1985).

THIS ETCHING IS OF A BRIDGE that was proposed

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