'The aerial Steam Carriage' , 1843.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

'The aerial Steam Carriage' , 1843.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Numbered lithograph showing William Henson's aerial Steam Carriage in a fictitious flight over a major city - posibly Rome. The lithograph incorporates technical details of the carriage, showing numbered and keyed features. Henson (1812-1888) patented his aerial Steam Carriage in 1842, and although the machine, named the 'Ariel', would never have been able to fly (the wings would not have been strong enough to carry the weight of the steam engine needed to power it), his pioneering design 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.

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