Henson's 'aerial Steam Carriage', c 1842.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Print, titled 'Der Luft-Dampf-Wagen' showing the flying machine designed by William Henson (1812-1888) in flight, together with a schematic diagram of the aircraft. Henson patented his design for an aerial Steam Carriage, which he christened the 'Ariel', in 1842. Although the Ariel never actually flew, its design conditioned much of the thinking of the early aviation pioneers, and laid the foundations for the modern monoplane. Henson and his partner, John Stringfellow, planned to set up an airfreight company, the 'aerial Steam Transit Company' to transport goods around the world.