This is a small sample of the many magnificent images in the Tissandier Collection of the Library of Congress' Prints and Photographs Division. The entire collection well repays study (and includes many more images which chart the technical details of the prehistory of flight than are suggested by this selection). For that matter, the entire L of C P&P site is one of the marvels of this our present century.
(Above) "Albert Tissandier (left), Gaston Tissandier (right), and an unidentified man in the basket of their airship demonstraing an electric navigational system featuring a propeller." By E. A. Tilley, wood engraver. Between 1880 and 1900. Call Number: LOT 13400, No. 90.
(Above) "Airship powered by an electric motor developed by Albert and Gaston Tissandier departing from Auteuil, Paris, France, October 8, 1883." By E. A. Tilly, wood engraver. Call number: LOT 13403, no. 26.
(Above) "Lunar halo and luminescent cross observed during the balloon Zénith's long distance flight from Paris to Arcachon in March, 1875." Possibly drawn by Albert Tissandier. Drawing on blue paper, ink wash, lead white, and graphite. Call Number: LOT 13399, no. 14. Sublime.
(Above) 'Drawing shows an airship "Cures d'Air" supporting the 'Pension Bellevue' for individuals requiring medical care and floating above a mountainous region.' Albert Robida (by 1883). Again, this is life in the Twentieth Century. It repays a closer look at higher resolution.
(Above) More than optimism propelled Henson's Aerial Steam Carriage. Scale models flew successfully in the 1840s. The flight of a full-size version across the Thames was not to be, though. (London: Rock and Co., ca, 1843.) Call number: LOT 13410, no. 37.
(Above) Félix Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon), by way of contrast, was quite successful indeed at caricature and photography. He took the first aerial photographs, and his exploits were sufficiently popular that he had to invent crowd-control barriers. 1897. Call number: LOT 13400, no. 97.
All of the images in the Tissandier Collection are in the public domain. Their reprints here remain in the public domain.
All portions of this document not noted otherwise are Copyright © 2010 by David M. MacMillan and Rollande Krandall.
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