Percy Pilcher, designer and glider aeronaut, late 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photograph of Percy Sinclair Pilcher sailing a boat with a new revolutionary sail design. Pilcher (1867-1899) was a partner in the firm Wilson and Pilcher Ltd, and began gliding in 1895. On 20 June 1897, he was towed 750 feet in the 'Hawk', the fourth of his gliders, and the one which resulted in his death at the age of 32. Pilcher inspired the Wright brothers to construct a full-size glider.