Henson's flying machine 'Ariel' over a city, 1843.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured lithograph by W L Walton, dedicated to the directors of the aerial Transport Company, showing the 'Ariel' in flight above an industrial city. William Henson (1812-1888) patented his design for an aerial Steam Carriage in 1842 and, 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.