'The New Transit Monomania', 1843-1846.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph by W Spooner. This caricature shows a man in a top hat expounding the virtues of investing money in Henson's flying 'Ariel' machine to John Bull in front of a crowd of interested onlookers. 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.