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LA MINERVE, Vaisseau Aerien Destine aux Decouvertes, et propose a toutes les Academies de l'Europe; par le Physicien Robertson, Ci-devant Professeur a l'Ecole centrale du departement de l'Ourte, de la Societe Galvanique,
Vienna, SV Degen, 1804 and Paris Hocquet, 1820.. de celle d'Emulation de Liege, et de celle pour l'Encouragement des Sciences et Arts de Hambourg. SECOND EDITION, revue et corrigee, 1820. French text, 8vo, approximately 190 x 125 mm, 7½ x 5 inches, woodcut title vignette, 4 woodcut illustrations printed on 3 pages, 1 large folding plate of the Minerve, plus at the end 1 EXTRA folding plate (probably a facsimile) of a fantasy flying machine which seems to come from an Italian work, pages: 36, (4), bound in modern half calf over cloth sides, raised bands and gilt decoration to spine, contrasting gilt lettered labels, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Corners and hinges very slightly rubbed, small blemish to upper hinge, front inner paper hinge cracked, 2 very small repairs to edge of front endpaper, slightly foxed throughout, mostly light, the folding plate is faintly foxed at the edges, there is a small light stain at the top outer corner, a tiny piece missing from the lower corner and a very short closed edge tear at the inner edge (repaired on reverse), the unnumbered illustrated pages at the end are very faintly foxed at the edges, otherwise a very good copy. Étienne-Gaspard Robert (1763-1837) was a famous Belgian stage magician pioneering projection techniques for phantasmagoria shows, at the same time pursuing an academic career as professor of physics at Liege, specialising in optics. He also had vast experience with balloons - he was Commandant des Aerostiers during the war, serving under General Jourdain in Belgium and Holland in 1803/4, providing valuable observations on the enemy troops and movements from tethered and untethered balloon observing stations; he is also regarded by some as the inventor of the parachute. There was nothing about the balloon described in this pamphlet that would have worked, and Robertson knew it, intending his work to be more of caricature of existing attempts in flight than as a science fiction creation. The balloon was to have been one of the biggest ever designed with a 150 foot diameter for a load of 161,000 lbs including 60 scientists, plus some ladies who have their own quarters, and it was to be fitted out with a library, church, exercise area, chemistry laboratory, music room, food and wine storage, kitchen, the only place where a fire is allowed, etc. It is also provided with a small ship underneath for sea landings. The first edition which is extremely scarce was first published in Vienne, France in 1804. This is mentioned on the title page and see Tissandier, Bibliographie Aeronautique page 33. MORE IMAGES ATTACHED TO THIS LISTING, ALL ZOOMABLE. FURTHER IMAGES ON REQUEST. POSTAGE AT COST.
      [Bookseller: Roger Middleton]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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