JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
“Let no man seek / Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall / Him or his children.Milton,” Paradise Lost XI, 770-72
George Cruikshank–the gifted English cartoonist/satirist/caricaturist and social commentator–was readying his viewers to some hyperspeculative dreams on the possibilities of near-in-time powered flight. Steampunk air travel is so commonplace in the near future that there are departure stations on building-tops
This etching by George Cruikshank “Air-um Scare-um Travelling,” from The Comic Almanack (1843), satirizes speculative hopes for balloon flight. The banners hanging from the departure-tower advertise pleasure trips from England to suitably fashionable and exotic locales: daily to Peking, Canton, Mont Blanc, and “every quarter hour” to the birthplace of modern ballooning, Paris. In the lower-left background, one flying machine explodes in mid-air–even in this aeroborne soliloquy to the future, there was more than a touch of danger.
By: Ptak Science Books
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