Société Antoinette, a maker of gasoline engines, was founded in 1904 by Léon Levavasseur. He made engines for motor boats. Based on those engines the 8-cylinder Antoinette-V engine was developed, one of the most important engines of early aviation. In 1908 Levavasseur designed a new aircraft, earlier aircraft being reproductions. The Antoinette IV was the famous monoplane with a boat-like fuselage. He changed the steering from aileron to wing warping. On April 17th, 1909 the aircraft had its first flight with Hubert Latham pilot. The Daily Mail had offered a reward of £10,000 for whoever crossed the English Channel by air first. In July 1909 Latham made the first attempt with the Antoinette IV. He crashed 1 km into the channel due to engine failure. The engine was improved and model VII had its first flight on July 25th, 1909. But the same day Blériot succeeded with his Blériot XI-monoplane. Levavasseur still wanted to prove his Antoinette VII could do it and Latham took off again on July 27. The aircraft almost made it but under a mile from the English coast there was another engine failure. [Fliegendes-museum, Großenhain, Germany]. The following month, Latham flew the same aircraft at the Grande Semaine d’Aviation de la Champagne, winning the prize for altitude (155 m, 509 ft) and coming second in the contest for the fastest circuit, with a speed of 68.9 km/h, 42.8 mph. [Gibbs-Smith, C.H. (2003). Aviation. London: NMSO. p. 176].