First edition, first printing. Publisher's original dark brown cloth with titles in gilt to the spine. Illustrated with an engraved portrait frontispiece and twelve lithographic plates (complete) of hot air balloons and early flying machines. A good copy, the binding square and firm with chipping to the spine and wear to the extremities. The contents with foxing throughout and occasional water marking to the page margins, particularly at the rear, are otherwise in good order and free from any previous owners' inscriptions or stamps.
John Wise (1808-1879), a pioneer in the field of ballooning, made 463 ascents during his lifetime and was responsible for several innovations in balloon design. His balloon, The Jupiter, made the first official airmail delivery run for the US Post Office in 1859 and, during the American Civil War, he was involved in some of the first attempts to use aircraft in warfare. The present work contains "an account of the various attempts in the art of flying by artificial means, from the earliest period down to the discovery of the aeronautic machine by the Montgolfiers in 1782" as well as contemporary American and European efforts, "a brief history of the author's fifteen years' experience in aerial voyages", and "full instructions in the art of making balloons, parachutes, etc., as adapted to the practice of aerial navigation, and directions to prepare experimental balloons." One of the seminal early American works on ballooning and aeronautics. Provenance: from the library of Martin Stone.
Stock code: 17436