John Stringfellow, English pioneer aviator, c 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
John Stringfellow (1799-1883) flew the world's first powered aeroplane in 1848. After much development, this steam-powered model was capable of climbing flight using its own power and could sustain distances of up to 120 feet. Perhaps the most famous of Stringfellow's flying machines was his steam-powered triplane of 1868, which was exhibited at Crystal Palace in London, England. Some of his experimental model aeroplanes are preserved at the Science Museum in London.