This article was published in the daily newspaper The New York Times, May 11, 1897.
Warning: the airship stories must not be taken at face value as "UFO sightings." Evaluation of such stories is under way here.
While the managers of the Nashville exposition are taking good care to get all the legitimate advertising they can out of their so-called "airship," they show a commendable inclination not to make any extravagant claims for what is after all only a balloon rigged up with an apparatus that renders possible slow propulsion when the atmospheric conditions are unusually favorable. It is a little unfortunate that the inventor and manipulator of this duplicate of at least fifty similar contrivances, all useless, just as the present machine must be, has allowed the correspondents to call him "Prof. Barnard." The title has created in some quarters, the impression that Prof., EDWARD EMERSON BARNARD, the eminent astronomer, is the builder, Captain, and crew of the new airship, and because of this mistake it has received rather more serious consideration than it deserves. Such dubious fame as the fastening of wheels beneath a balloon can give, belongs, not to the discoverer of Jupiter's fifth satellite, but a young man who owns a professorial handle of his name to the fact that for several years he gave members of the Young Men's Christian Association the benefit of his knowledge about gymnastics and physical development. The exposition managers decided over a year ago that a flying machine would be a good feature for their show, and they hired BARNARD to make the nearest approach to one that he could produce without spending too much money. It betrays an over-suspicious mind even to hint that the recent stories from the West and South were a part of the Nashville scheme, but it is undoubtedly a fact that to the interest they excited is due almost all the comment which the Barnard balloon has created. It is absolutely hopeless in principle, and the work expended in its construction would have been worse than wasted if the object had been to produce anything more than a toy to play with on exceptionally calm days.