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Augustus M. Herring was born at Conyers, Georgia in 1867, the son of wealthy English descendents. His early education consisted of grade and high schools, during which time his sole ambition was to study engineering and design an aeroplane.

Herring entered Stevens Institute at Hoboken, New Jersey as an engineering student in 1885. As his final graduation thesis his subject was "The Flying Machine as an Engineering Problem". It was considered so insane and unreasonable that it was rejected and his diploma withheld.

His first interest in air phenomena started in 1880 with a toy helicopter. From 1890 to 1894 he worked with models, gliders and various types of lightweight gas, steam and compressed-air engines. During this period Herring evidently was also a close student of the early gliding experiments being conducted in Europe and claims to have flown a Lilienthal-type glider at Croton, New York in 1894 - six years before the Wright brothers made and flew their first glider. 

As a result [[crossed out: of this investigational work]] Herring was invited to join Samuel P. Langley at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. on a similar program in May, 1895 as Supervisor of Aeronautical Construction. The two men did not get along and Herring quit on December 1st that year. 

In 1896 Herring was employed by Octave Chanute of Chicago, who was experimenting with gliders. He remained there through 1896 and 1897 during which time he assisted in building several gliders and conducted quite an extensive flying program with them during the summer months off the sand dunes at the southern end of Lake Michigan. Toward the end of 1897 Herring tried to persuade Chanute
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