May 10, 2013
Their name originally was Loughead, Scottish for “lake’s head.” We know them today as the Lockheed brothers, Allan and Malcolm, who in 1912 founded what became one of the world’s biggest aerospace companies. Allan, the younger brother, had taught himself to fly two years earlier in a Curtiss pusher airplane — the kind of daring common among that pioneering generation of aviators.
For the sons of Flora Loughead, risk-taking was nothing unusual, because she herself may have been the most adventurous member of the family.
Born Flora Haines in 1855, she took the name of her second husband, John Loughead, at the age of 30, and within three years gave birth to Malcolm and Alan. She was no stay-at-home housewife, living vicariously through her kids. As Lockheed biographer Walter Boyne sums up, “She was a journalist, married three times, had five children by two husbands, worked her own mining claims, farmed thirty-five acres, wrote many articles and more than a dozen books, taught her children at home, and in general behaved in a manner that would be widely applauded today but was unheard of at the time.”
As a newspaper reporter, she covered everything from bicycle races to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and as an author she wrote both fiction and nonfiction books. You can read some of them here.
Flora wasn’t, however, the one who got her boys interested in aviation. That was eldest son Victor, who wrote (in 1910 as Victor Lougheed), Vehicles of the Air.
Always independent and a little cheeky, Flora wrote — at a time when her future aviators were just five and two years old — a book that any modern parent can relate to: Quick Cooking: A Book of Culinary Heresies for the Busy Wives and Mothers of the Land. It was signed “By One of the Heretics.”