Eighty years ago Charles Lindbergh won the $25,000 Orteig Prize by becoming the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Within three years the number of U.S. airports tripled and U.S. airline passenger traffic increased thirtyfold, creating what became known as the “Lindbergh Boom.”

Contests like the Orteig Prize were once commonplace. They were used by governments, organizations, and individuals to spur innovation of all sorts – from exploration to new technologies. Prizes...


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