The 'Eagle', the 'First aerial Ship', 1834.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Colour illustration of the 'Eagle', an airship designed by the Compte de Lennox in 1834 to create a direct communication link between the capitals of Europe. The first aerial ship of its kind, it was exhibited in the grounds of the aeronautical Society in Kensington, London. It measured 160 feet long, 50 feet high and 40 feet wide, with a capacity of 98,700 cubic feet. The ship was cylindrical with conical ends and had eight paddle-shaped flaps, four on either side, which were intended to be worked backwards and forwards manually by a series of cords and chains. However, the airship proved too heavy to lift its own weight and was destroyed by onlookers after a failed ascent from the Champ de Mars, Paris, on 17th August 1834.