Henson's 'aerial Steam Carriage', 1843.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by J Shury showing a fictitious flight of Henson's aerial steam carriage over a European lakeside town surrounded by mountains. William Henson (1812-1888) patented his aerial Steam Carriage in 1842 and, although the 'Ariel' never actually flew, there is no doubt that 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. The romantic print produced here shows the machine as Henson wished to see it - operating in all parts of the world.