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Aeronautics

American magazine of aeronautics v. 1-2, no. 1; Jan. 1907-Jan. 1908
Author:
Aeronautical Society of America
Aero Club of Pennsylvania
Physical description:
17 v. in 9 : ill. ; 25-28 cm
Type:
Periodicals
Place:
United States
Date:
1907
1915
Topic:
Aeronautics
Call number:
TL501 .A2557
Notes:
Published by E. L. Jones, July-Oct. 1908; by the Aeronautics Press, Inc., Nov. 1908-July 1915
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Visitor Tag(s):

Aeronautical world

Physical description:
2 v. : ill. ; 24 cm
Type:
Electronic resources
Place:
United States
Date:
1902
1903
Topic:
Aeronautics
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Visitor Tag(s):

Bibliography of aeronautics / National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics

Author:
Brockett, Paul 1872-1946
United States National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
Physical description:
14 v. ; 27 cm
Type:
Bibliography
Periodicals
Date:
1916
1932
1921-1936
Topic:
Aeronautics
Notes:
Compiler: Paul Brockett
"...continues the work of the Smithsonian Institution issued as volume 55 of the Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, which covered the material published prior to June 30, 1909, and the work of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics as published in the Bibliography of Aeroanutics for the years 1909 to 1916 ."--Introd., 1917-1919
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Visitor Tag(s):

Ernest Jones Aeronautical Collection, 1906-1937

Creator:
Jones, Ernest La Rue 1883-1955
Subject:
Jones, Ernest La Rue 1883-1955
Early Birds of Aviation (Organization)
Physical description:
16.88 cubic feet (37 legal document boxes) (1 slim legal document box) (1 flatbox)
15.75 linear feet
Type:
Photographs
Collection descriptions
Periodicals
Publications
Notebooks
Date:
1906
1906-1937
Topic:
Aeronautics
Local number:
XXXX-0096
Notes:
Ernest L. Jones (1883-1955) spent most of his life involved in aviation. He edited the first American aviation journal, Aeronautics (1907-15) and was a cofounder of the Early Birds, the society of pre-1916 flyers. In 1912 he became president of the Aeronautics Manufacturers Association and in 1917 handled publicity for Wright Aeronautical. During World War I Jones received a commission in the Army Air Service, later becoming chief information officer. He wrote a history of the Air Service of the American Expeditionary Force before becoming the editor of National Aeronautical Review (1924-1926). Jones was appointed by Secretary of Commerce Hoover to set up the aeronautical branch of the Commerce Department, which later grew into the Civil Aeronautics Administration and Federal Aviation Administration. During the 1930s he was involved in a number of projects relating to commercial aviation. In 1941 he rejoined the Army Air Corps as a major in intelligence but in 1943 he was transferred to the history division where he compiled an aeronautical history. He retired from the Air Corps in 1949, but continued as a civilian employee until the early 1950s
Summary:
This collection consists of aeronautical photographs collected by Major Ernest Jones between 1906 and 1917 and notebooks which recorded major aviation events. The prints were either taken by Major Jones or were purchased or given to him by the US Army, Navy, individuals, or manufacturers. The notebooks were created by Jones and include newspaper clippings and handwritten notes by him on major aviation events up until 1937
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

Additional Online Media:

Ask an Expert: Aeronautical Insignia Collection

Creator:
National Air and Space Museum
Type:
Lectures
YouTube Videos
Uploaded:
2011-05-04T21:19:21.000Z
Metadata Updated:
2013-09-20T17:28:09.000Z
Topic:
Aeronautics
Flight
Space Sciences
YouTube Category:
Education
Views:
298
Video Title:
Ask an Expert: Aeronautical Insignia Collection
Description:
Dr. Alex Spencer, curator in the Aeronautics Division of the National Air and Space Museum, presents a sampling of Aeronautical Uniform Insignia from the collection. This informal gallery talk was recorded on September 29, 2010 as part of the National Air and Space Museum's "Ask an Expert" lecture series. "Ask an Expert" lectures are presented weekly at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC and biweekly at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. For more information & schedule, see http://www.nasm.si.edu/askanexpert/
Video Duration:
798 seconds
See more by:
airandspace
YouTube Channel:
airandspace
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Medal, Military Aeronautics

Materials:
Overall: Bronze
Dimensions:
3-D: 3.5 x 1.3 x 4cm (1 3/8 x 1/2 x 1 9/16 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Medals & Ribbons
Country of Origin:
Italy
Credit Line:
Donated by the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences Inc.
Inventory Number:
A19640251000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Bronze commemorative medal for Military Aeronautics; Obverse: relief profile bust of King Victor Emanuel III depicted, embossed text "VICTORIO EMANUELE III RE D'ITALIA"; Reverse: relief of an eagle depicted, embossed text "MEDAGLIA MILITARE AERONAUTIC".
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Navigation, Aerospace Management & Control, Charts and Maps, Jet Navigation Chart, Great Lakes Region to Maritime Provinces. [photograph]

Photographer:
Unknown
Type:
Ephemera
Date:
Mar-63
Topic:
Aeronautics
Aeronautics, Commercial
Airlines
Aeronautical Charts
Local number:
NASM-9A05271
Summary:
Jet Navigation Chart (JN-30) of the "United States Northeast," compiled and printed at Washington, D.C. by the United States Department of Commerce, Coast and Geodetic Survey, August 1953, revised March 1963. Geophysical map covers an area roughly from 60ŒW to 96ŒW and 38ŒN to 52ŒN, including the Great Lakes region, the East Coast metropolitan corridor, and the Canadian maritime provinces
See more items in:
Jet Navigation Charts, 10th Edition
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

West Coast Airlines (USA); Frontier Airlines (USA); North Central Airlines (USA); Lake Central Airlines (USA); Allegheny Airlines (USA); Mohawk Airlines (USA); Southwest Airways (USA); Bonanza Air Lines (USA); Trans-Texas Airways (TTA) (USA); Central Airlines, Inc (USA, 1944); Ozark Air Lines; Southern Airways (USA); Frontier Airlines (USA); Piedmont Airlines (USA). [photograph]

Photographer:
Unknown
Type:
Ephemera
Date:
1955
Topic:
Aeronautics, Commercial
Airlines
Aeronautical Charts
Local number:
NASM-2009-31571
Summary:
Brochure promoting the use of local airlines, "Fly All The Way To 500 Cities and Towns Serves by Local Airlines", 1955; fully opened out, with airplanes cut out at the top edge. The following airlines are listed: West Coast Airlines, Frontier Airlines, North Central Airlines, Lake Central Airlines, Allegheny Airlines, Mohawk Airlines, Southwest Airways, Bonanza Air Lines, Trans-Texas Airways, Central Airlines, Ozark Air Lines, Southern Airways and Piedmont Airlines
See more items in:
R. E. G. (Ron) Davies Air Transport Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

LTA, Airships,ÙSA, Knabenshue (A. Roy) "Knabenshue Airship" ("Pasadena Airship," "White City"), Chicago (1914). [photograph]

Photographer:
A. Roy Knabenshue (?)
Type:
Photographs
Date:
Jul-14
Topic:
Airships
Aeronautics
Local number:
NASM-106860
Summary:
A. Roy Knabenshue's father, mother, and wife seen aloft over Chicago, Illinois, in the "Knabenshue Airship." Photo dated July 1914. View looking forward along the length of the car
See more items in:
Sherman Fairchild Collection of Aeronautical Photographs
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

Events, 1909 Reims, France, Grande Semaine de lLa Champagne; Paulhan, Louis; Voisin 1909 Biplane Family. [photograph]

Photographer:
J. BienaimT
Type:
Ephemera
Date:
8/24/1909
Topic:
Aeronautics
Airplane racing
Local number:
NASM-139442
Summary:
View of Louis Paulhan in his Voisin 1909 Type Biplane (race no. 20) turning on a pylon on August 24, 1909, at the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne, BTtheny, Reims, France
See more items in:
Sherman Fairchild Collection of Aeronautical Photographs
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

Wright (Co) Model B; Military, USA, Bases and Installations, Texas, Fort Sam Houston. [photograph]

Photographer:
James H. "Jimmy" Hare
Type:
Photographs
Date:
1911
Topic:
Aeronautics
Airplanes
Wright (Co) Model B
Local number:
NASM-9A08575
Summary:
"Army aeropla[ne flies ov]er the mules at San Antonio, Texas." Right side view of Wright Model B in flight over US Army tents and mule teams in camp at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, 1911
See more items in:
Institute of Aeronautical Sciences Photograph Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

Northwestern Aeronautical Corporation, Production; Northwestern Aeronautical Corporation, Personnel, War Loan Fundraising Activities. [photograph]

Photographer:
Unknown
Type:
Photographs
Date:
Circa 1942-1945
Topic:
Aircraft industry
Aeronautics, Military
Aeronautics
World War, 1939-1945
Airplanes
Local number:
NASM-9A07315
Summary:
View from near the rafters of crowd packed into the factory floor area of the Northwestern Aeronautical Corporation, St. Paul, Minnesota; probably during a War Loan Drive, circa 1944. All look toward a stage set up at left background with military personnel. Two unfinished cargo glider fuselage frames are seen in foreground
See more items in:
John E. Parker Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Visitor Tag(s):

Badge, Royal Aeronautical Society

Materials:
Enameled Brass
Dimensions:
3-D: 2.5 x 1.3 x 3.8cm (1 x 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Insignia
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Credit Line:
Donated by Miss Katherine M. Smart
Inventory Number:
A19710695024
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Royal Aeronautical Society oval badge; relief of a hawk and free gas balloon depicted in center of badge with light blue enamel background; blue enamel edge with gold letter text "ROYAL AERONAUTICAL SOCIETY".
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Medal, Charles Green Aeronaut

Artist:
W. J. Taylor
Materials:
Overall: Copper
Dimensions:
3-D: 1.3 x 4.2cm (1/2 x 1 5/8 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Medals & Ribbons
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Credit Line:
Donated by the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences Inc.
Inventory Number:
A19640177000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Copper Charles Green Aeronaut commemorative medal; Obverse: relief profile bust of Charles Green depicted, embossed text "CHARLES GREEN AERONAUT"; Reverse: relief of a free gas balloon over the town of Weilburg Germany depicted, embossed text "FROM LONDON NOVEMBER 7, 1856 TO WEILBURG GERMy IN 18 HOURS, IN COMPANY WITH ROBt. HOLLOND M.P. & M. MASON ESQ."
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Medal, Aeronaut Charles Green

Materials:
Bronze
Dimensions:
3-D: 1.3 x 4.2cm (1/2 x 1 5/8 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Medals & Ribbons
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Credit Line:
Transferred from the Library of Congress, Science Division
Inventory Number:
A19720081000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Bronze Charles Green commemorative medal; Obverse: relief profile bust of Charles Green depicted, embossed text "CHARLES GREEN AERONAUT"; Reverse: relief of a gas free balloon over Weilburg Germany cityscape, embossed text "FROM LONDON NOVEMBER 7, 1836 TO WEILBURG GERMANY IN 18 HOURS IN COMPANY WITH ROB HOLLOND, M.P. & M. MASON ESQ."
Summary:
Bronze Medal
Commemorating the British aeronaut Charles Green.
Gift from the Library of Congress
A19720081000
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Location:
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA
Hangar:
Boeing Aviation Hangar
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Additional Online Media:

Badge, Aeronautic Society Judge

Materials:
Backing: Steel
Cover: Plastic
Ribbon: Silk
Dimensions:
2-D - Unframed (H x W): 10.2 x 3.2cm (4 in. x 1 1/4 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Insignia
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Credit Line:
Found in Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
Inventory Number:
A19951372000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Aeronautic Society Judge's badge; white plastic cover with black letter text "JUDGE" over steel back; blue silk ribbon with gold stenciled letter text "AERONAUTIC SOCIETY".
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Badge, Royal Aeronautical Society

Materials:
Overall: Enameled Brass
Dimensions:
3-D: 2.5 x 1.3 x 3.8cm (1 x 1/2 x 1 1/2 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Insignia
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Credit Line:
Found In Collection. Donor Unknown at this Time. Found on NASM Premises.
Inventory Number:
A19951515000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Royal Aeronautical Society oval badge; relief of a hawk and free gas balloon depicted in center of badge with light blue enamel background; blue enamel edge with gold letter text "ROYAL AERONAUTICAL SOCIETY".
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Pin, Lapel, Wright Aeronautical

Materials:
Enamel on Brass
Dimensions:
3-D: 2.9 x 1.3 x 1cm (1 1/8 x 1/2 x 3/8 in.)
Type:
AWARDS-Insignia
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Credit Line:
Donated by Miss Katherine M. Smart
Inventory Number:
A19710690011
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Wright Aeronautical Student Pilot Lapel Pin; one piece stamped gold wings with blue enamel disc in center; gold lettering "WA" on center disc; propeller with raised letter text "STUDENT PILOT" at top.
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Medallion, First Aeronautical Exposition

Materials:
Brass
Dimensions:
2-D - Unframed (H x W): 3.3cm (1 5/16 in. dia.)
Type:
AWARDS-Insignia
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Credit Line:
Donated by Miss Katherine M. Smart
Inventory Number:
A19710691006
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
First Aeroplane Model League of America medallion; relief of the Statue of Liberty and wings depicted in center of medallion; red, white, and blue enamel Air Corps star insignia depicted in center of wings; embossed text "FIRST ANNUAL AERONAUTICAL EXPOSITION NEW YORK MARCH 15, 1919."; blank back.
See more items in:
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Data Source:
National Air and Space Museum
Visitor Tag(s):

Aeronautics. Mr Sadler's Car

Artist:
A.W. Warren
Joseph Clement
Publisher:
Rest Fenner
Medium:
Print, Engraving on Paper
Dimensions:
2-D - Unframed (H x W) (Matted): 33 x 25.4cm (13 x 10 in.)
2-D - Unframed (H x W) (Matted): 38.1 x 31.8cm (15 in. x 12 1/2 in.)
Type:
ART-Prints, Original
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Date:
1818
Credit Line:
Gift of Harry F. Guggenheim
Inventory Number:
A19680148000
Rights:
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Physical Description:
Diagramatic illustration of balloon inflation methods, with a balloonist in his gondola waving flags, top center. Gondola reads "Erin Go Brah" Diagram is both numbered and lettered without a legend.
Summary:
The Birth of Flight: NASM Collections
The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. Enormous crowds gathered in Paris to watch one balloon after another rise above the city rooftops, carrying the first human beings into the air in the closing months of 1783.The excitement quickly spread to other European cities where the first generation of aeronauts demonstrated the wonder of flight. Everywhere the reaction was the same. In an age when men and women could fly, what other wonders might they achieve.
"Among all our circle of friends," one observer noted, "at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky." Single sheet prints illustrating the great events and personalities in the early history of ballooning were produced and sold across Europe. The balloon sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs.
Thanks to the generosity of several generations of donors, the National Air and Space Museum maintains one of the world's great collections of objects and images documenting and celebrating the invention and early history of the balloon. Visitors to the NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport can see several display cases filled with the riches of this collection. We are pleased to provide visitors to our web site with access to an even broader range of images and objects from this period. We invite you to share at least a small taste of the excitement experienced by those who witness the birth of the air age.
Tom D. Crouch
Senior Curator, Aeronautics
National Air and Space Museum
Long Description:
Present at Creation:
The NASM Collection of Objects Related to Early Ballooning
The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph-Michel (August 26, 1740-June 26, 1810) and Jacques Etienne (January 6, 1745 - August 2, 1799), launched the air age when they flew a hot air balloon from the town square of Annonay, France, on June 4, 1783. Members of a family that had been manufacturing paper in the Ardèche region of France for generations, the Montgolfiers were inspired by recent discoveries relating to the composition of the atmosphere. Joseph led the way, building and flying his first small hot air balloons late in 1782, before enlisting his brother in the enterprise.
Impatient for the Montgolfiers to demonstrate their balloon in Paris, Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond, a pioneering geologist and member of the Académie Royale, sold tickets to a promised ascension and turned the money over to Jacques Alexandre-César Charles (1746-1823), a chemical experimenter whom he had selected to handle the design, construction and launch of a balloon. Charles flew the first small hydrogen balloon from the Champs de Mars, near the present site of the Eiffel Tower, on August 27, 1783. Not to be outdone, the Montgolfiers sent the first living creatures (a sheep, a duck and a rooster) aloft from Versailles on September 19.
Pilatre de Rozier, a scientific experimenter, and François Laurent, the marquis D'Arlandes, became the first human beings to make a free flight on November 21. Less than two weeks later, on December 1, 1783, J.A. C. Charles and M.N. Robert made the first free flight aboard a hydrogen balloon from the Jardin des Tuileries.
A wave of excitement swept across Paris as the gaily decorated balloons rose, one after another, over the skyline of the city. Throughout the summer and fall of 1783 the crowds gathering to witness the ascents grew ever larger. As many as 400,000 people - literally half of the population of Paris -- gathered in the narrow streets around the Château des Tuileries to watch Charles and Robert disappear into the heavens.
The wealthy and fashionable set purchased tickets of admission to the circular enclosure surrounding the launch site. Guards had a difficult time restraining the crush of citizens swarming the nearby streets, and crowding the Place de Louis XV (now the Place de la Concorde) and the garden walkways leading toward the balloon. People climbed walls and clambered out of windows onto roofs in search of good vantage points.
"It is impossible to describe that moment:" wrote one observer of a balloon launch, "the women in tears, the common people raising their hands to the sky in deep silence; the passengers leaning out of the gallery, waving and crying out in joy… the feeling of fright gives way to wonder." One group of spectators greeted a party of returning aeronauts with the question: "Are you men or Gods?" In an age when human beings could fly, what other wonders might the future hold?
The balloons had an enormous social impact. The huge, seething crowds were something new under the sun. The spectators who gathered in such huge numbers were just becoming accustomed to the idea of change. The old certainties of their grandparent's world were giving way to an expectation that the twin enterprises of science and technology would provide the foundation for "progress."
The balloons sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs. Party guests sipped Créme de l' Aérostatique liqueur and danced the Contredanse de Gonesse in honor of the Charles globe.
The Americans who were living in Paris to negotiate a successful conclusion to the American revolution were especially fascinated by the balloons. It seemed only fitting that, at a time when their countrymen were launching a new nation, human beings were throwing off the tyranny of gravity. The oldest and youngest members of the diplomatic community were the most seriously infected with "balloonamania."
"All conversation here at present turns upon the Balloons…and the means of managing them so as to give Men the Advantage of Flying," Benjamin Franklin informed an English friend, Richard Price. Baron Grimm, another Franklin acquaintance, concurred. "Among all our circle of friends," he wrote, "at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky."
Franklin noted that small balloons, made of scraped animal membranes, were sold "everyday in every quarter." He was invited to visit a friend's home for "tea and balloons," and attended a fête at which the duc de Chartres distributed "little phaloid balloonlets" to his guests. At another memorable entertainment staged by the duc de Crillon, Franklin witnessed the launch of a hydrogen balloon some five feet in diameter that kept a lantern aloft for over eleven hours.
The senior American diplomat in Paris purchased one of the small balloons as a present for his grandson and secretary, William Temple Franklin. Released in a bed chamber, "it went up to the ceiling and remained rolling around there for some time." Franklin emptied the membrane of hydrogen and forwarded it to Richard Price so that he and Sir Joseph Banks might repeat the experiment. The delightful little toy was thus not only the first balloon to be owned by an American but also the first to reach England. Both Franklins were soon supplying little balloons to friends across Europe.
Sixteen year old John Quincy Adams also took note of the small balloons offered for sale by street vendors. "The flying globes are still very much in vogue," he wrote on September 22. "They have advertised a small one of eight inches in diameter at 6 livres apiece without air [hydrogen] and 8 livres with it. .. Several accidents have happened to persons who have attempted to make inflammable air, which is a dangerous operation, so that the government has prohibited them."
There was a general sense that the colorful globes marked the beginning of a new age in which science and technology would effect startling change. The results and the implications of the revolution in physics and chemistry underway for over a century were largely unknown outside an elite circle of privileged cognoscenti. The balloon was unmistakable proof that a deeper understanding of nature could produce what looked very much like a miracle. What else was one to think of a contrivance that would carry people into the sky?
If human beings could break the age-old chains of gravity, what other restraints might they cast off? The invention of the balloon seemed perfectly calculated to celebrate the birth of a new nation dedicated, on paper at any rate, to the very idea of freedom for the individual. In the decade to come the balloons and the men and women who flew them came to symbolize the new political winds that were blowing through France. While some might question the utility of the "air globes," flight was already reshaping the way in which men and women regarded themselves and their world.
Of course most citizens of Europe and America were unable to travel to see a balloon. They had their first glimpse of the aerial craft through the medium of single sheet prints. In the late 18th century it was difficult and expensive to publish anything more than the roughest of woodcuts in newspapers or magazines. In an effort to share the excitement with those who could not attend an ascent, to let people know what a balloon looked like, and to introduce the brave men and women who were taking to the sky, artists, engravers and publishers flooded the market with scores of single sheet printed images. Ranging from the meticulously accurate to the wildly fanciful, these printed pictures were sold by the thousands in print shops across Europe.
The business of producing and marketing such images was nothing new. In Europe, block prints from woodcuts had been used to produce book illustrations and single sheet devotional or instructional religious images since the mid-15th century. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, the technique was used to produce multi-sheet maps, bird's eye images of cities, and other products. In the early modern era, etching and engraving techniques enabled artists from Albrecht Dürer to Rembrandt van Rijn the opportunity to market copies of their paintings. .
In the 1730's. William Hogarth inaugurated a new era in the history of English printed pictures when he published his, "Harlot's Progress," a series of single sheet images charting the downfall of a young woman newly arrived in London. Other sets, including "Marriage à la Mode," appeared in the decade that followed. Other artists used the medium of the etching or engraving to reproduce portraits and offer examples of their work for sale.
By the late 18th century, Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and other English artists made considerable fortunes producing sporting prints and satirical images offering biting commentary on the shortcomings of the political and social leaders of the day. Rowlandson was said to have "etched as much copper as would sheathe the British navy." In order to publish his prints and caricatures while they were still newsworthy, Rowlandson worked rapidly. He would water color the first impression, then send it to refugee French artists employed by Rudolph Ackermann, one of his favored publishers, who would color each of the prints before they were hung up in the shop window. In the 1780's a typical print seems to have sold for a shilling, the price being sometimes included on the print itself.
The appearance of the balloon in 1783 provided artists, engravers and publishers in England, France, Germany and Italy a new subject for their efforts. As the wave of balloon enthusiasm swept across the continent, the production and sale of images depicting the great flights and daring aeronauts flourished. In addition to illustrating the birth of the air age, print makers made use of balloon motifs in comic images satirizing political events or social trends.
In the 19th century new lithographic techniques and the advent of improved presses and smooth paper, led to a revolution in the ability to mass produce images. Balloons remained a common subject of interest to readers, and ready material for satire in the talented hands of artists like Honorè-Victorine Daumier.
Today, the balloon prints produced by 18th and 19th century artists remain as a priceless window into the past. They enable us to share some sense of the excitement that gripped those watching their fellow beings rise into the sky for the first time. Engraved portraits tell us something of the appearance, and even the personality, of the first men and women to fly. Satirical prints utilizing balloon motifs help us to understand the impact that flight on the first generations to experience it.
The National Air and Space Museum owes its collection of balloon prints to the generosity of several leading 20th century collectors. The bulk of the prints in our collection come from Harry Frank Guggenheim (August 23, 1890 - January 22, 1971).. The son of industrialist and philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim and his wife Florence, Harry Guggenheim enjoyed multiple careers as a business leader, diplomat, publisher, philanthropist, and sportsman.
Aviation was the thread that tied his diverse activities together. A graduate of Yale and Pembroke College, Cambridge University, he learned to fly before the U.S. entered WW I and served as a Naval aviator during that conflict and as a Naval officer during WW II. In the mid- 1920's, he convinced his father to establish the Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, which had an enormous impact on aeronautical engineering and aviation in the U.S.
A collector of everything from fine art to thoroughbred horses, Guggenheim began to acquire aeronautica during the 1920's, gradually focusing his attention of aeronautical prints. His collection had grown to be one of the most complete in the world by the 1940's, when he loaned his prints to the New York museum maintained by the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences. When the IAS dissolved its museum in the 1950's, Guggenheim donated his own collection to the National Air and Space Museum.
The NASM collection of aeronautical prints also includes items donated by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and by a number of other private collectors, notably Constance Fiske in memory of her husband Gardiner Fiske, who served with the U.S. Army Air Service during WW I and with the USAAF in WWII; Thomas Knowles, a long-time executive with Goodyear Aircraft and Goodyear Aerospace; and Bella Clara Landauer, one of the great American collectors of aeronautica.
There can be little doubt that William Armistead Moale Burden was one of the most significant contributors to the NASM collection of furnishings, ceramics and other objects related to ballooning and the early history of flight. . Burden began collecting aeronautical literature and memorabilia during the 1920's, while still a Harvard undergraduate. Following graduation he rode the post-Lindbergh boom to prosperity as a financial analyst specializing in aviation securities. His business success was inextricably bound to his enthusiasm for the past, present and future of flight.
By 1939, Burden was reputed to have built a personal aeronautical library second only to that of the Library of Congress. He loaned that collection to the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, an organization that he served as president in 1949. In addition to his library of aeronautica, Burden built a world-class collection of historic objects dating to the late 18th century - desks, chairs, bureaus, sofas, mirrors, clocks, ceramics and other examples of material culture -- inspired by the first balloons and featuring balloon motifs. After a period on display in the IAS museum, William A.M. Burden's balloon-decorated furnishings and aeronautica went into insured off-site storage in 1959. A member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, Mr. Burden ultimately donated his treasures to the NASM, as well.
Thanks to the efforts of these and other donors, the NASM can share one of the world's finest collections of works of art and examples of material culture inspired b y the birth of flight with our visitors. We are pleased to extend the reach of our collections to those who visit our web site. Welcome, and enjoy.
Tom D. Crouch
Senior Curator, Aeronautics
National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution
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