According to Robert Bruce’s 1973 book Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, Bell’s first hydrofoil, the HD-1, reached speeds of 72 km/h in 1911. The next year, it achieved speeds of 80 km/h.

Bell’s next hydrofoil, the HD-2, broke apart before it could set any further records. The HD-3 was built the following year; however, a moratorium was imposed on hydrofoil development by the start of the First World War.

Finally, in 1919—at a time when the world’s fastest steamship couldn’t even reach 50 km/h—the HD-4 set a world record of 114 km/h.

A. G. BELL