Saturday, May 18, 2024
Business and Commerce, Industry, Inventors

Charles Ritchel

Photo: Charles Ritchel c. 1840-1911

Charles Ritchel was an inventor who is credited with inventing the first dirigible.  In 1878, Ritchel built a hand-powered dirigible fashioned out of rubber from the Goodyear Rubber Company in Naugatuck and the Folansbee Machine Shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  He is a Bridgeport inventor who is also thought to have invented roller skates.

Mary Witkowski
Mary K. Witkowski is the former Bridgeport City Historian and the Department Head of the Bridgeport History Center, Emeritus. She is the author of Bridgeport at Work, and the co-author with Bruce Williams of Bridgeport on the Sound. Mary has had a newspaper column in the Bridgeport News, a blog for the Connecticut Post, and a weekly spot on WICC. She continues to be involved in many community based activities and initiatives on local history and historic preservation.