Tremendous Montage of Early Airships

JF Ptak Science Books  Quick Post

I stumbled upont his fantastic illustration depicting nearly four dozen early balloons, many of which are a mystery to me. The image comes from the Library of Congress site, though the origin, title, and even the date of the engraving are unknown. It is known as “Balloons, airships, and other flying machines designed with some form of propulsion” though the title was bestowed by the library–one thing for sure is that it was engraved by “E. Morieu, and was printed between 1880-1905.   

Airships from LC

Source: Library of Congress []

Somebody at the LC identified some of the airships, as follows: 

  •  “Single sheet with 45 numbered illustrations; lacking identification key.-  no. 18 shows a collapsible Montgolfier balloon from 1784; no. 23 is the design for a glider balloon as described in “Reflections on the aerostatic sphere,” 1783 (September); no. 24 depicts Jean-Charles (l’avocat) Thilorier’s plan for transporting troops across the English Channel to invade England, ca. 1800; and no. 32 shows the dirigible balloon glider used by Charles Guillé for an attempted ascension in Paris, November 13, 1814.”
  • Also, I know for sure that the last figure, #45, at bottom right, is a steam-powered balloon railway…

There’s another fine image of fantastical airships below, also from the LC, and published in Puck, volume 59, no. 1509 (1906 January 31)–this shows the airships of the near future putting the Panama Canal out of business:

Airship LC Puck

Source: Library of Congress:


By: JF Ptak Science Books
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries

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