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A Treatise upon the Art of Flying, by Mechanical Means,
- TRUE FIRST EDITION. PHOTOGRAPHS AVAILABLE ON REQUEST. Title continues: "with a Full Explanation of the Natural Principles by which Birds are Enabled to Fly; likewise Instructions and Plans for making a Flying Car with wings, in which a man May Sit, and, by Working a Small Lever, Cause Himself to Ascend and Soar through the Air with the Facility of a Bird," very rare First Edition, x, 6-67pp 8vo, with a large hand coloured folding plate, contemporary half calf, rebacked, plate and final leaf with some professional restoration, inscribed presentation copy from the author, despite restoration a good example of a fascinating book, ONE OF THE RAREST ENGLISH BOOKS ON AVIATION Hull, Simmons for Longman &c., 1810. Maggs, The History of Flight, catalogue 619 for 1936, # 178: 'First edition of one of the rarest English books on Aviation' where it was priced at œ25 - perhaps one hundredth of its value today. 'Walker's ideas on the practicability of flight as a means of aerial transportation were based (as stated on the title-page of his treatise) upon 'the natural principles by which birds are enabled to fly.' It is evident the flight of birds was a subject on which for many years he diligently read and observed - in his early life he dissected many birds and 'studied very minutely' the mechanism of their wings, tails and all the parts which they employ in flying. On the evidence of his reading which the author himself states would have enabled him to compile a large volume from all that had been said on the subject throughout the ages he avers 'that no one has ever understood the natural means of flying'' and he dismisses as 'childish whims' all attempts hitherto made with wings, whether of silk, leather, sheet iron, or other rnaterials. Throughout the book he insists on the fact that granted the possession of the 'two greatest requisites ' for flying, viz, 'wings large enough' and 'sufficient power to work them' the weight of a bird - or of a man - is no obstacle to the art of flying. In respect of his own scheme for 'artificial flying' which, conceived on an analogous plan, was designed to overcome the difficulty of the insufficient strength of man's arms, and (as hitherto attempted) the unsupported weight of his body - he claimed, with that complete assurance which is rarely convincing, 'there cannot remain a doubt of success.' Walker admits that 'professional avocations and other circumstances' - which it is safe to assume includes lack of money - prevented him from making any such machine as he described on paper, and indeed the only experiment he himself records was confined to diminutive paper models. It should, however, be added that a contemporary -who as a resident of Barton-on-Humber doubtless wrote with some personal knowledge - stated that Walker made a machine, but 'was unable to raise himself from the platform on which the car was placed.' (See Hodgson's History, pp.351-3). Photograph available on request.
      [Bookseller: Jeffrey Stern Antiquarian/STERN ACADEMIC]
Last Found On: 2014-10-12           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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