Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Flying Tissandier Brothers

Henri Lachambre, aéronaute-constructeur breveté
'Advertisement for aeronaut and balloon manufacturer Henri Lachambre shows a balloon "H. Lachambre" with two passengers floating through a scene of animals, circus performers, and toy balloons.'
Lithograph ~1880

[Aerialist wearing wings strapped to his shoulders
and feet while suspended from a balloon]
Woodcut ~1885

'Print shows a boat-like vehicle on wheels with parachutes'
Lithograph by H Francois sometime in 19th century

Voyage a la lune
'French cartoon shows a man riding on a bicycle-like flying machine while looking through a telescope attached to the front. Two balloons, "Veloc[ipedes]" and "Domanie," are attached at front and rear as are propeller-like wheels.'
Lithograph ~1870

I volatori. Les messieurs qui volent
'Italian political cartoon shows a large balloon ("Politica") in the shape of a man ready to gobble up the moon ("Oriente") defended by a man ("Turco") holding a fork. Other armed men representing the nations of Europe and North Africa are falling off the balloon into the frying pan of war ("Guerra") held by the Roman god Mars ("Marte").' from Papagallo 1880

Navigation aérienne
'Ballon & appareil de direction construit par M. Pompéien-Piraud, inventeur'
Wood engraving print by B Arnaud 1883

'Technical illustration shows early balloon designs: "Lana's aeronautic machine," Montgolfiers' balloon," "Blanchard's balloon," "Garnerin ascending [and] descending" in his parachute, the "Charles & Roberts' balloon" being inflated, the "form of the wings employed by Lunardi," and the "form of the wings employed by Blanchard." ' [detail: 'form of the wing' missing here]
Drawn by Joseph Clement ; engraved by A.W. Warren & J. Davis. 1818

Le premier parachute de Jacques Garnerin, essayé
par lui-même au parc de Mousseaux, le 22 octobre 1797
'Three technical illustrations show "Calotte du parachute" (crown of deployed parachute); "Parachute ployé, à l'instant du départe" (release from ascending balloon); and "Parachute déployé, à l'instant de la séparation d'avec le ballon" (separation when it becomes fully deployed).'

Captive balloon with clock face and bell,
floating above the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Watercolour over graphite by Camille Grávis

The Tissandier brothers, Gaston and Albert, assembled a collection of more than 900 items relating to the early history of aeronautics from various sources. Gaston Tissandier (1843-1899) was a balloonist and science writer. Albert (1839-1906) was a balloonist and illustrator.

"Subjects include general and technical images of balloons, airships, and flying machines; portraits of famous balloonists; views of numerous ascensions, accidents, and world’s fairs; cartoons featuring balloon themes; pictorial and textual broadsides; and colorful ephemera and poster advertisements. There are also several hundred illustrations clipped from books and newspapers. The pictures, created by many different artists, span the years 1773 to 1910, with the bulk dating 1780-1890."

"The collection is rich in images of flights the Tissandier brothers participated in as well as flights they observed between 1865 and 1885. For example, Gaston Tissandier flew over enemy lines during the Siege of Paris in 1870, and Albert made drawings of several balloons that were used to carry passengers and supplies over enemy lines. While Gaston tested the limits of balloon ascension, Albert made drawings of natural phenomena in the upper atmosphere." Together in 1883 they rigged up a Siemens electric engine to an airship and Gaston became the first person to use electric-powered flight.

Gaston, who was a chemist and meteorologist (hence his interest in balloons) and wrote many books, also established the scientific magazine La Nature in which many of Albert's lithographic illustrations were published.
Flugmaschine [detail]
'Technical illustration shows elevation and horizontal section of a man-powered flying machine constructed and tested unsuccessfully by Swiss watchmaker Jakob Degen living in Vienna in the early 1800s. A pair of heart-shaped, braced and movable wings are operated by arms and legs.'
Engraving by J Belbing 1807
[I removed some background artifact from a couple of images here]


jmorrison said...

love love love love love.
you my friend are a tireless champion among bloggers and i appreciate it.

misteraitch said...

My childhood mania for flying-machines of all kinds has long subsided, but there’s something about balloons that still does it for me. If you’ll excuse a supplementary self-link, I found the amazing story of the Zénith by way of the Tissandier collection.

And, what jmorrison said!

pk said...

Thanks lads!
And thanks for the link misteraitch - I had seen a snippet in passing about the deaths on that flight and didn't pursue it. Powerful story indeed.

My mania for the airborne didn't start 'til adulthood - I find illustrations of the old 'potential' vehicles the most fascinating.

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