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Flying Machines (circa 1885)

This image, depicting many different flying machines, is from the Library of Congress, dated circa 1885. The full image appears below along with many different cropped versions showing the detail of the piece. The Library of Congress description of the engraving also appears below.

No. 18 shows a collapsible Montgolfier balloon from 1784; no. 23 is the design for a glider balloon as described in "Reflections on the aerostatic sphere," 1783 (September); no. 24 depicts Jean-Charles (l'avocat) Thilorier's plan for transporting troops across the English Channel to invade England, ca. 1800; and no. 32 shows the dirigible balloon glider used by Charles Guillé for an attempted ascension in Paris, November 13, 1814.

See also:
Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
Paleo-Future Wallpaper: Round 2

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Reader Comments (13)

These look ripe for desktopping to me.

August 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Max

Am I the only one noticing a UFO in the first picture ?

August 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSilent

Seems like a whole bunch of lollipop from afar

August 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterka6_jeram

If hot air balloons were in 1885 the current tech and today rockets and jet aircraft are the same for us, how will our successors regard our current technology in 122 years and what will they have that will make out stuff look like the balloons of yesteryear?

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Toronto, ON

I love how in the last two pictures the so-far-so-credible balloons and such moved on to a new technology which involves hanging vessels from clouds.

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAkaki Kuumeri

i'd like to know what our children will think of the technology we are using today ...
what would people of 2100 think about what we call cutting edge technology today ...
nice pics byt the way ...
they sure do have kewl imaginations ... hehe ...

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersubcorpus

Does anyone know anything about the ones that seem to be hanging from the clouds? I can't for the life of me make any sense of it... Did they think clouds were solid somehow?

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Reminds of this book I used to have that detailed Da Vinci's designs.

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWatch TV

silent, that's the first thing I noticed was the flying saucer. Can't be a coincidence. How would someone think of that unless they saw one. Great pictures.

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Great collection of pics!

August 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterantigravity

I think there was an early air-screw (propeller) design that looked like the "flying saucer" seen here. It may even be a Di Vinci design.

August 6, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterartbot

Dang! Some of these came very close to reality: hangliders, blimps and durigibles, and of course the hot air balloons that must have inspired the artist's imagination.

November 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter=A

I think these flying machines looks very strange but at its time I believe was very successful. Thank you !

March 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRca Ieftin

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