View Full Version : Oldest aviation book

7th Jan 2004, 06:22
Just been having a tidy up chez Luggage and rediscovered a book I've had for a while (can't remember how I originally got it). Called "How To Fly or The Conquest Of The Air", it's by Richard Ferris BS, CE and published by Thomas Nelson in 1910. It describes various types of biplane, monoplane, glider and ballon and how to build and fly them.

Has anyone else ever come across this book or another from the very early days of aviation?

7th Jan 2004, 08:40
I have a copy of "Aerodonetics" by F. W. Lanchester [1909]. "Constituting the second volume of a complete work on aerial flight." It puts forth various theories about flight, but never mentions the Wrights. It does mention Lilienthal.

The following footnote appears in the Preface. "There is a false impression - one that is far too prevalent - that the essence of flight consists of flapping wings. Nothing is further from the truth."

7th Jan 2004, 16:31
I have 2 copies of the 1909 Aeromanual, an original and a later (1910?) reprint with a few more pages/ different ads.. This is a wonderful little book published by 'The Motor' - a popular mororing journal of the day.

3 snippets -

'How to fly the Voisin monoplane in half an hour' - It goes on to say that if you can ride a horse you can fly the Voisin. A really quaint 'teach yourself' step by step much the same as our favourite Jerry in MagMen.

'The Cycloplane' - An ad for a wing that you can attach to your pushbike. 'Whilst not yet capable of sustained flight, a certain lifting sensation can be felt through the frame'.

'Highways in the sky' - A wonderful vison fo the future '50 years hence' which believed that large straight swathes would be cut through the countryside with large chalk-filled 'signpost' lettering in the ground. The aircraft depicted are either swept wing biplanes or annular wings.

These books arer highly detailed and show the original constructon methods used - turnbuckes, ribs, controls etc. etc.

Absolutely fascinating.

Expect to pay around 50 for a copy - more for a first edition.

Brian Cocks might have one. I got my second copy from he. He always has a stall @ Old Warden. If he hasn't got one he is very likely to be able to find you one.