One afternoon in the summer of 1910, the torpedo boat USS Bagley (TB-24) made her way from the docks at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and down the Severn River to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bagley's design harkened back to the spar torpedo boats of the Civil War, and spent many of her days in reserve or as a training ship for the Naval Academy. But that day her mission was different. In a world first for destroyer-type ships, the Bagley was carrying an airplane on top of a specially-constructed wooden platform.
But this was no ordinary airplane. It did not look like the recent inventions of the Wright Brothers and other early aviation pioneers. No, it did not even have wings or a tail, but instead two rotating 12-sided cylinders sticking out from a central body. This was Congressman Butler Ames' Aerocycle.