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1962 World Ice Hockey Championships, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Bifoliate brochure providing information about the 1962 World Ice Hockey Championships at The Broadmoor World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Upper portion of front cover features three hockey sticks in white, purple, and red surrounding a green hockey puck at center against a blue background. Printed at upper right: 1962 World / Ice Hockey / Championships / THE BROADMOOR; "1962" and "THE BROADMOOR" are in green, while the rest of the text is purple. Printed in red, center right: March 8–18. Lower portion of front cover is white, with "INFORMATION" printed across the top in blue. Verso: Includes printed blue text about the locations of the championships (The Broadmoor Arena and the Denver University Arena), with a diagram below showing the route from Denver to Colorado Springs. A pattern consisting of white and blue triangles is at left, and the Broadmoor name and company logo (a small illustration of an arena) are printed in blue at bottom right. Interior contains printed purple text about the championships (including ticket reservations, hotel reservations, and transportation).

1999 Season, Ballet Tech

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
On a white ground of typographic diagrams, four images of a female dancer on Pointe in a black leotard. Across the poster is yellow text that reads: FELD BALLET TECH. In lower margin: APRIL 6 – MAY 9 JOYCECHARGE: 212-242-0800 JOYCE The Joyce Theater / BBAALLLLEETTTTEECCHH.

24,000 Documents Detailing Life of Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted Now Available Online

Smithsonian Magazine

When 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was 14 years old, his natural affinity for the rural New England outdoors took a dangerous turn when a brush with poison sumac left him half-blinded. With long-held plans to attend Yale University put on hold, Olmsted set out to explore the world—a task he doggedly pursued over the next 20 years, long after his eyesight improved.

During that time, Olmsted worked as an apprentice on a tea ship bound for China, traveled the American South to report on slaveholding states for the New York Times, ran a farm on Staten Island and joined his younger brother on a European expedition. Then, in 1857, Olmsted returned his gaze to the natural world, nabbing a position as superintendent of the soon-to-be developed Central Park. He spent the next five decades ensconced in the art and science of natural spaces, garnering widespread acclaim as the landscape architect behind sites ranging from the Vanderbilt family’s North Carolina Biltmore estate to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Now, as preparation for the bicentennial of Olmsted’s 1822 birth ramps up, Artdaily.org reports that the Library of Congress has digitized its collection of roughly 24,000 Olmsted papers, including journals, personal correspondence, project proposals and miscellaneous materials related to his private and professional life. Together, the documents reveal a highly intimate portrait of the famed urban and suburban planner, conservationist and writer, who is best-known today as the founder of landscape architecture and an early believer in the soothing effects of natural oases hidden amongst urban sprawl.

The collection contains roughly 47,300 scanned images dating between 1777 and 1952, although the bulk of materials date between 1838 and 1903, the year of Olmsted’s death at age 81. Given the sheer breadth of available documents, the LOC has provided a guide that links visitors directly to desired content, whether it’s a horde of papers regarding the Columbian Exposition (also known as the Chicago World's Fair) or early drafts of an unpublished history of the United States.

Artdaily.org notes that additional collection highlights include a pencil sketch diagram of plantings for the Capitol grounds, a letter to Olmsted’s wife, Mary Cleveland Perkins Olmstead, detailing the trials endured by soldiers fighting in the Civil War and a preliminary report on the preservation of Yosemite and California’s giant sequoias.

John Singer Sargent, "Frederick Law Olmsted," 1895 (Wikimedia Commons)

The newly digitized papers offer an array of insights on the architect’s aesthetic theories, which he enumerated in private and public writings alike. Olmsted strongly believed there were distinct differences between a garden and a park, distinguishing the latter by the “spaciousness and the broad, simple, and natural character of its scenery.” All elements of an Olmsted landscape served a purpose; excessive ornamentation—often found in gardening—he saw as nothing less than “barbarous.” Ultimately, Olmsted aimed to wield unconscious influence over viewers with his creations. As he once explained, “Gradually and silently the charm comes over us; we know not exactly where or how.”

An Olmsted public space always followed several guiding principles, The Atlantic’s Nathaniel Rich explains: First, the park should complement the city in which it is housed. Second, the park should be faithful to the character of its natural landscape—for example, palm trees had no place in a New England park. Unsurprisingly, Olmsted also believed that man-made structures should only be included if absolutely necessary.

There’s a certain irony within this ideation. As Rich observes, “It takes a lot of artifice to create convincing ‘natural’ scenery. … [His designs] are not imitations of nature so much as idealizations, like the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School. Each Olmsted creation was the product of painstaking sleight of hand, requiring enormous amounts of labor and expense.”

In 1895, encroaching senility led Olmsted to retire. He was admitted to a Massachusetts hospital, ironically one whose grounds he had once planned to design, and died there in 1903.

Only a decade before, Olmsted had designed the grounds of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the so-called “White City” that attracted some 25 million enraptured viewers. In a speech on the success of the Chicago exposition, Daniel Burnham, an architect and urban planner who served as director of the fair, lauded Olmsted's vision as a landscape designer. “[He is] an artist,” said Burnham, “he paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest covered hills; with mountain sides and ocean views."

3D Copies of Art Let the Blind Experience Classic Works in New Ways

Smithsonian Magazine

In the 17th century painting "Apollo at the Forge of Vulcan," by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Apollo bears a crown of laurels silhouetted by the light of a his godly aura. Velázquez is one of Guadelupe Iglesias’s favorite painters, but she hasn’t seen the artwork in years. "Since I went blind, I've been to museums maybe twice," she told Lauren Frayer at NPR. In 2001, Iglesias lost her vision to retinal disease. "I can listen to the audio guide, but I have to imagine — remember — what the paintings look like." 

Now the Prado Museum in Spain has put up a version of Velázquez that Iglesias can enjoy. It’s a 3D copy of the famous work that the blind and visually impaired can touch. Frayer describes how Iglesias runs her hands over the prickly laurel crown and exclaims: "Fantastic!" 

The small exhibit also includes copies of work by Francisco Goya, El Greco and a twin of the "Mona Lisa" painted by one of Leonardo da Vinci’s students. Frayer reports:

Curators began by taking a high-resolution photo of each masterpiece, and then used special pigments to paint on top of it.

"It's a special type of paint designed to react to ultraviolet light and rise like yeast when you're baking," says the curator of the exhibit, Fernando Pérez Suescun, who ordinarily works on the Prado's education team. "It creates volume and texture."

The colors are imitated as well, which lets the sighted and people with partial vision appreciate multiple aspects of the masterpieces. Some of the paintings are smaller than the originals, so that visitors can easily touch all parts. Sighted visitors can also use opaque glasses to experience the touchable art as blind people do. 

The small exhibit isn’t the only way museums have thought of their visually impaired patrons. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila has some tactile diagrams and audio guides that accompany portraits. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City holds special tours where visitors can touch and handle statues, listen to a guide give detailed descriptions of the collections and learn about drawing techniques to "see" works of art. 

After all, art doesn’t just need to be restricted to one sense when humans experience the world through touch, taste, sound and smell as well.

3c Washington Dr. Carroll Chase diagrammatic chart

National Postal Museum
Diagramatic chart for the U. S. 1851-1861 3-cent George Washington Issue; identifies the various parts of the design.

This diagram is hand drawn by noted philatelic scholar Dr. Carroll Chase and donated by him in his volume of the

3c George Washington 1851 color and plate study.

42 Lessons for Tabla [sound recording] / illustrated with examples and recordings of master performer Ustad Keramatullah Kahn

Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
Compiled and writte by Robert S. Gottlieb.

With a foreword by Ravi Shankar.

Notes in booklet (24 p. : ill.), including instructional texts and diagrams, inserted in original cover.

Related materials may be found in the Moses and Frances Asch Collection, also held by this repository. Related materials may include correspondence pertaining to the recording, original cover art designs, production materials, business records, and audiotapes from studio production.

463 Ribbon

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
White cardboard box; imprinted with silver. Imprinted in white diagonally (lower left to upper right), across recto and top and sides of box, large striped logo (all running off page): IBM; ; across verso, running off page, smaller stiped logo: IBM®; imprinted in black diagonally (same direction), recto, verso, and recto-side of box: 463 Ribbon/ Ruban 463/ 463 Farbband/ Cinta 463;imprinted in black, recto-side, striped logo: IBM; verso-side, upper left quadrant: Reorder no./ No. de commande:/ Bestellnummber:/ No. de Pedido:/ Quantity:/ Quantite:/ Anzahl:/ Cantidad:/ Color: black/ Couleur: noir/ Farbe: schwarz/ Color: negro/ Use prior to:/ Utiliser avant le:/ Verwenden vor:/ Usar antes de:; upper center (next to the reorder no.: 1 299 463; imprinted next to quantity: 6; lower left quadrant, verso-side: International Business Machines Corporation/ Made in U.S.A.; center, verso fold in: C.W.Z.; center, recto-fold in: 1299480/3; imprinted in black ink, inside: diagrams 1,2,3 for how to remove, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 on how to install; upper left quadrant, inside: To remove:/ Pour retirer:/ Herausnehmen:/ Para sacar:; upper right quadrant, inside: To install:/ Pour mettre en place:/ Einsetzen:/ Para instalar:

Seed Box, Mandeville & King Co.

Smithsonian Gardens
Wooden seed box for Mandeville & King Company. The box has a hinged lid and has a dark stain with a latch on the exterior. On the front of the box is a lithograph that reads: “Mandeville / 10c and up / Triple tested flower seeds.” On the lid of the interior a lithograph with a diagram on how to display the seeds in the box and the label, “Mandeville & King Co / Superior Flower Seeds, Rochester, N.Y.”

A DIAGRAM / OF THE / STATE / OF /ALABAMA

National Museum of American History
After Alabama became a state in 1819 and after the Indian Removal Act of 1830, white settlers and their African slaves arrived in the area in great numbers. This map was created under the auspices of the General Land Office, a federal agency that was formed in 1812. The agency took over functions begun under the Federal Land Ordinance of 1785. This map shows Alabama divided into square townships 6 miles on each side (townships at the edges of the state tend to be smaller and irregular in shape). Some townships are designated A, B, C, D, or X. The scale seems to be 18 miles to the inch. The identified towns are Cahaba, Florence, Huntsville, Mardisville, Mobile, Montgomery, Sparta, St. Stephens, Tuscaloosa, and Wetumka. The Cherokee Cession is shown, as are the Choctaw Cession of 1830, the Chickasaw Cession of 1833, and the Creek Cession of 1832. One meridian runs through St. Stephens, a settlement along the Tombigbee River (here spelled Tombeckee) that served as the original capital of the Alabama Territory. Another meridian runs through Huntsville, the first incorporated town in the region. An east-west line at 31° north latitude divides Alabama from West Florida. Another east-west line divides the Northern and Southern surveyor’s districts. The text at bottom reads “Exhibiting the situation of the Public Surveys, shewing what records of the same are on file in the General Land Office and the Surveyor General’s Office, the Townships, the field notes of which are yet to be transcribed for the General Land Office and recorded in this Office, also, what Townships the original field notes of which are not on file in either Office, having been destroyed by fire in December 1827, and which have to be retraced for the purpose of obtaining the Original Land Marks to be preserved on record in the General Land Office and This Office. Surveyor’s Office, Florence Alabama Jas H. Weakley Surveyor General of the Public Lands in Alabama.” Ref: Jas. H. Weakley to James Whitcomb, Commissioner of the General Land Office, Nov. 16, 1840, in Public Documents Printed by Order of the Senate of the United States (Washington, D.C., 1841), vol. 3, pp. 134-135.

Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Lunch Box

National Museum of American History
This steel lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1954. As one of the earliest metal lunch boxes, it served as a template for future designs with large colorful images of licensed fictional characters. This box features images from Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, a television show that aired on all four major networks from 1950-1955. Tom Corbett, Space Cadet also appeared as a book series, comic strip, and radio program. The back of the box features a diagram on the solar system, complete with distances from earth.

A Boston Biotech Company Is Engineering New Smells

Smithsonian Magazine

Ginkgo Bioworks is staffed by hackers. Though they prefer to say they "design organisms," the employees have built a lab, or "foundry," in Boston, where they hack biology. They splice genes, then insert mixtures of genes into vials of yeast, to quickly grow synthetic organisms that serve human needs.

Gingko’s creative director, Christina Agapakis, says they’re essentially in the business of speeding up evolution. "It’s like a rapid prototyping factory," she says.

The biohackers are working on building organisms that capture carbon and others that grow probiotics that help people fight off infections. The company received initial funding from DARPA to develop the latter. But right now, Gingko is creating organisms that emit specific smells. The goal is to mass-produce synthetic scents and flavors that can be used for everything from perfume to artificial sweetener. It's a step to potentially replace rare, expensive, slow-growing or volatile organic compounds. Robertet, a French fragrance company, commissioned Gingko to help synthesize a scent from a specific rose, only grown in Turkey and Bulgaria, that is laboriously picked by hand.

“Fragrance has been a lead because fragrance uses the chemistry of something that started as biological extract,” she says. “So we’re looking at where can biology come back into chemical engineering and make it sustainable and renewable.”

I recently spoke to Agapakis about the company and its mission:

How did Ginkgo get its start?

Ginkgo was founded in 2008 by Tom Knight and four guys(Reshma Shetty, Jason Kelly, Barry Canton, Austin Ch) who had just finished getting their PhDs at MIT. Tom had a hand in developing ARPANET, a precursor to the Internet, but in the late ‘90s, he decided computers were boring and programming biology was interesting. He wanted to see where engineering and biology could intersect. That was the point of Ginkgo. The founders want to make biology easier to engineer, and then to look at what that means for industry and technology.

Why is it happening now?

When they started in 2008, it was just about the time when the cost of DNA sequences was really rapidly dropping, and because of that people started sequencing everything. The knowledge of how evolution has solved problems has rapidly expanded, and people have sequenced all sorts of genomes and enzymes. It has become a resource or library.

The other side of things is synthesis. You used to have to find the organisms, and now you can synthesize genes from the database. When I was a student, it used to cost $1 per base pair, so a gene cost one to $5,000 dollars. Now it’s gone down to pennies per base. We just put in an order for 100 million base pairs from Twist [a synthetic DNA company], which is enough to write the yeast genome 10 times. It’s becoming much more possible.

Christina Agapakis, creative director at Ginkgo Bioworks (Photo by Thatcher Cook for PopTech)

What exactly do you do in the lab?

It’s like a rapid prototyping factory. We can run many variants of different pathways and see what works in the right combination.

Sometimes our projects start with our customers. They’ll say, “It’s hard for us to make this ingredient,” and we’ll start looking for an organism that will produce something for them. We start from the biochemistry. We have tech engineers who understand the biology of the cells, and all the metabolites that are there, so they understand how the processes are affecting the cells.

Other types of projects look at what biology can do in the chemical space. [Here is where Ginkgo is growing microbes to mimic the smell of that hard-to-grow rose.] For the ingredients that we’re looking at now, or flowers or plants in general, there are several classes of chemicals that can make different cells. There are say 1,000 to 5,000 different enzymes. We’ll say, lets synthesize them and put them in yeast and see what the variants do.

Why do you use yeast as the base material?

Yeast is awesome, because we as humans are really good at fermenting yeast. There’s a lot of technology around yeast’s ability to create flavors and smells, because of beer. What we do is a really cool mix of contemporary science and traditional brewing methods. Our head of fermentation actually owns a brewery—Mystic Brewery in Chelsea [Massachusetts].

The advantage of the foundry is that it can automate sequencing. (Ginkgo Bioworks)

What are you working on now?

There’s a constantly evolving Venn diagram of where biology’s capabilities lie, where the engineering is feasible and where there’s an industry, need and technology. Fragrance has been a lead, but we are also working on technology for carbon capture. We got an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant to look at carbon capture and converting short-chain carbons into more complex things. We’re also working with Ajinomoto, a Japanese food and chemical company, to see if we can find ways to improve their waste stream.

What happens next?

Bioworks 2, an expanded foundry, opens in the spring or early summer next year, and the foundry is constantly iterating. We’re always thinking about organism design and how to run it more efficiently. We’re bringing in new projects, customers and markets, but we’re also working on technology.

Ten years out, we’re looking at the microbiome, microbial communities and how we can engineer microbes. I’m looking forward to a time when we know how microbes work together. We’re also thinking about all the things that smell. Someday we want to have something called "the 100 vials." It would be 100 different smells that are created through nature.

A New Technology Can Remotely Analyze an Ecosystem’s Species By its Sound

Smithsonian Magazine

ARBIMON—a system of distributed recording stations and centralized analysis software—was used to track populations of the endangered plains coqui frog, in Puerto Rico. Photo by CoquiPR

Imagine you’re a scientist and you want to track the population of an endangered frog species in, say, the Puerto Rican rainforest.

In the old days, you’d have to write a proposal, win a grant, put together a team, trek out into the field and spend a few weeks or months manually collecting and cataloging samples. A few years later, if you wanted to know whether the frog population had recovered or gotten even smaller, you’d have to go through the same process all over again.

A new way of collecting this information, presented today by scientists from the University of Puerto Rico in the journal PeerJ, promises to make this process much easier, faster and more comprehensive. Their idea—a network of widely distributed microphones and web-based audio recognition software, which they call ARBIMON (for Automated Remote Biodiversity Monitoring Network)—could someday make it possible for us to eventually have real-time estimates on critical animal population levels in spots all over the world.

The researchers designed the distributed hardware part of the system to be built from relatively inexpensive, widely available components—such and iPods and car batteries—along with waterproof cases and solar panels, which would enable the microphones, once placed, to last several years. The idea is that a network of such microphones, with one placed roughly 50 square meters, could act as remote ears listening in on the ecosystem: Every ten minutes, each microphone will record one minute of the local ecosystem’s sounds (amounting to 144 recordings per day) and send it via a radio antenna to a nearby base station.

The system will be made from a network of widely placed recording stations and a unified interface that will allow biologists to access data. Click to enlarge. Image via ARBIMON

Each base station will then send the recordings on to a centralized server in Puerto Rico, from where they’ll be made public in near-real time at Arbimon.com. Simultaneously, software will analyze sounds from the recording to pick out the different noises made by different species. Using an existing bank of identified species calls, the software will assign particular sounds to particular birds, frogs and other creatures.

Verified users—perhaps a biologist working on research on a particular species, or a member of the general public with a background in birding, for example—can contribute to the project by listening to the recordings and verifying whether the software is correctly identifying sounds and matching them to right species. Over time, input by users will train the software to become more accurate.

Eventually, once the software is trained to identify each call, the researchers say it’ll be able to process more than 100,000 minute-long recordings in less than an hour. As a result, a biologist will be able access a constant stream of data on the levels of a specific species in spots around the world, or the fluctuating populations of various species in one ecosystem.

Initially, biologists can index certain frequencies of a species’ calls to known populations of that species in each location—for example, 400 coqui chirps per hour means that 10 coquis are in the area. Later on, when the frequency of calls changes, this data can be extrapolated to infer fluctuations in the population present.

In the published paper, the system’s capability was demonstrated by tracking populations of a number of birds, frog, insect and mammals species in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica over the past few years. At the Puerto Rico research site in the Sabana Seca wetland, the researchers focused on tracking populations of the Plains coqui frog, an endangered amphibian discovered in 2005 with a high-pitched, distinctive chirp. Listen to a clip of the Sabana Seca filled with coqui chirps:

Microphones were first installed there in 2008, and over the subsequent few years, the researchers trained the software to become increasingly accurate at analyzing the various sounds picked up and determining which were the plains coqui’s chirp. Eventually, scientists charted variations in the chirp’s frequency on both daily and seasonal timescales and were able to match these with surveyed data on changes in the coqui population.

One of the reasons these researchers are most excited about the new system is the way it’ll standardize and permanently store the audio samples indefinitely. 50 years from now, they say, if a conservation biologist wants to look back at the way populations of a species have fluctuated over time, he or she can simply access the recordings and have them analyzed. Not only will this help to track endangered populations, but could also pinpoint when invasive species began to dominate certain ecological niches.

The next step, according to the researchers, is installing these microphone setups in all sorts of ecosystems—every place where there’s a species that merits attention.

A Representation of M: Blanchard's Balloon, & Apparatus

National Air and Space Museum
A Representation of M: Blanchard's Balloon, & Apparatus, September 14. Very large globe-shaped balloon equipped with parachute and occupied by two aeronauts. The balloon has large scallop-edged wings. This print is a depiction of one of Blanchard's unsuccessful steerable balloons. A lettered diagram with legend beneath corresponds with the letters shown on the image.

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

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

Adam’s Patent Model of a Stove Drum - ca 1868

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 85,196 issued to John Adams of Findlay, Ohio on December 22, 1868. His patent was for a new and improved design for a Stove-Drum . A stove drum was the element of a heater or furnace which heated air via contact with a large, hot metal surface. It would be located between the combustion chamber of the stove and the chimney. Mr. Adam’s design consisted of two truncated cones interconnected by flues. The lower cone was the entry point for the hot combustion gases and had an inner truncated cone which included a damper at its bottom. With the damper open the hot gases would travel directly upwards through a pipe that ran through the middle of the lower and upper cones and thence to the chimney. This resulted in the minimal amount of metal surfaces being exposed to the gases and thus the least heat being provided to the room. It also allowed a more direct draft for lighting the fire. With the damper closed the hot gases flowed in the volume between the inside and outside lower cones. A plate at the top of these cones allowed the gases to flow into the five flues that interconnected the upper and lower cones. A key element of Adam’s patent was the division of each flue into two halves via vertical partitions. After coming up through the lower cones, the gases entered the outer compartment of the flues where it then entered the upper cone and heated its outside surface. The gases would then flow back downwards through the inner compartment of the flues and into the inner lower cone which communicated with the chimney via the vertical pipe previously mentioned. With the damper closed the entirety of the surface of the stove-drum would be heated by the combustion gases, and this provided the maximum heating for the room. Research of available trade literature and other sources has not revealed any commercial product that may have made use of this invention by Mr. Adams. He did have one additional patent for a furnace which appears to be based in part on the principles of this stove-drum patent.

The model is constructed of unpainted tinplate and represented the key elements of Adam’s patent. The upper and lower truncated cones are shown as are the interconnecting flues, the inner lower cone, and the damper. Diagrams showing the complete design can be found in the patent document online (/www.USPTO.gov/patents/process/search/index.jsp).

Aeronautics. Mr Sadler's Car

National Air and Space Museum
Engraving depicting a diagramatic illustration of balloon inflation methods, with a balloonist in his gondola waving flags, top center. Gondola banner reads "Erin Go Brah" Diagram is both numbered and lettered without a legend.

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

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

Aerostation

National Air and Space Museum
Colored print on paper depicting four balloons- one in each corner around a round diagram of an aerial view of the city of Chester. Lower left balloon has blue, green, yellow vertical stripes and is attached to a barrel with three men. Upper left balloon has red and gold roccoco designs on balloon. Gondola has red fabric swag and two men, one of whom flies a flag with three fleur de lis. Upper right corner, has yellow balloon with brown gondola with contraption with blue wings. Lower right corner has blue balloon with red horizontal stripes and yellow crest with lion and unicorn. A man flying in gondola waves a flag.

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

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

Aerostation

National Air and Space Museum
Colored engraving on paper depicting four balloons- one in each corner around a round diagram of an aerial view of the city of Chester. Lower left balloon has blue, green, yellow vertical stripes and is attached to a barrel with three men. Upper left balloon has red and gold roccoco designs on balloon. Gondola has red fabric swag and two men, one of whom flies a flag with three fleur de lis. Upper right corner, has yellow balloon with brown gondola with contraption with blue wings. Lower right corner has blue balloon with red horizontal stripes and yellow crest with lion and unicorn. A man flying in gondola waves a flag.

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

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

Aircraft design data. Navy Department, Bureau of Construction and Repair

Smithsonian Libraries
At head of title: Confidential.

Loose-leaf.

"First issued in 1918 as blue-printed notes."--Preface to volume 1, page v.

Also available online.

Elecresource

NASMRB copy of volume 1 (39088002203966) has ink stamp: John J. Ide Collection, R 52 1964. With Ide's autograph on a printed receipt inserted at the front: Copy no. 6.

NASMRB copy of volume 2 (39088004400800) has ink stamps : (on back paste-down endpaper) Gift of Major E. E. Aldrin; (on receipt inserted at front of volume) E. E. Aldrin; copy no. 78; McCook Field Library, Airplane Engineering Department, McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio.

NASMRB copy has the original gilt-stamped black cloth bindings. Each volume has triple-punched holes through the left side of its text-block, and the leaves tied together with a black cloth string.

Alfred Vail's Drawing of Many Circuits with One Battery

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Alfred Vail was a key partner to American inventor Samuel Morse and is credited with designing the machine and alpha code used in the creation of the electromagnetic telegraph.

For other materials relevant to Vail's work, see Negative Numbers SIA2011-0824 to SIA2011-0826, and SIA2011-0828 to SIA2011-0830. For letters between Vail, Morse, and first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, see Negative Numbers SIA2011-0814 to SIA2011-0823.

This page is from Alfred Vail's scientific notebook, and it shows a diagram of one of his experiments. The diagram shows an arrangement of many circuits with only one battery and one wire for a common circuit. This experiment was designed for when different letters are desired in succession.

Alfred Vail's Electromagnetic Telegraph Notes

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Alfred Vail was a key partner to American inventor Samuel Morse and is credited with designing the machine and alpha code used in the creation of the electromagnetic telegraph.

For other materials relevant to Vail's work, see Negative Numbers SIA2011-0824, SIA2011-0825, and SIA2011-0827 to SIA2011-0830. For letters between Vail, Morse, and first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, see Negative Numbers SIA2011-0814 to SIA2011-0823.

The page on the left contains Alfred Vail's notes about magnetic forces and magnetism in relation to the electromagnetic telegraph. The page on the right is a diagram drawn by Vail of the telegraph line between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Washington , D.C.

Allen’s Patent Model of Cut-Off Valve for Steam Engines – ca 1841

National Museum of American History
This model was filed with the application to the U.S. Patent Office for Patent Number 2,227 issued to Horatio Allen of New York, New York on August 21, 1841. The patent was for an improved design for the mechanism controlling the inlet valve of a steam engine. Allen’s design provided a means of adjusting the point in the power stroke of the engine’s piston at which high pressure steam being fed to the cylinder was cut off. This was desirable as power was extracted from the expansive force of the steam after the valve closed. This saved fuel by avoiding continuous use of high pressure steam.

The image of the model shows a cross section of the steam cylinder at the right with the piston rod and connecting rod extending to the left to the crankshaft. The steam inlet valve is shown above the cylinder and is of the slide valve type. It is operated by a shaft eccentric mounted on the crankshaft. In the model, the valve is made of wood and slides back and forth to admit steam to each side of the piston. The cut-off is the separate brass slide valve above the main valve. It is operated by its own eccentric, and the range of its travel is controlled by the brass hand crank and gears. Turning the crank thus allowed the point of steam cut-off to be varied as required.

Allen’s design in this patent was soon improved by himself and others to allow for a simpler mechanism that did not require the separate slide valve for cut-off.

The patent model is constructed of brass and wood. All of the key elements of the patent are illustrated by the model. It includes a small hand crank to permit demonstration of actual operation. A full description of the operation of the valve gear along with complete diagrams of the patent can be found in the patent document online at the United States Patent and Trademark Office website, /www.uspto.gov.

Aluminum from Clay (Ancor Method), Page 138 from Fortune

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Page 138 from Fortune magazine featuring graphics by Herbert Bayer at bottom. Colorful diagram shows the process of transforming clay into aluminum using the ancor method. Diagram is mostly red and yellow, with black printed text. Design continues on 2016-54-355. Text printed in black above. Verso: Article printed in black titled, "Aluminum: Have or Have Not?"

American Steam Gauge Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
The American Steam Gauge Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 572. It consists of a brass piston with one groove; a brass cylinder; an internal, single wound spring, which can be changed; a large drum with a coil spring and single record. The stylus is missing. Accompanying the indicator is a box with two small wrenches; a packet of record paper with the title on top of the Taylor Engine Company Time Card; and actual engine records on five sheets.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

An-tee-bodies: T-shirts in celebration of the antibody

National Museum of American History

Antibodies are always looking out for us, and this week we're taking a closer look at them. Antibody-based tests, vaccines, and drugs have dramatically influenced American history, culture, and quality of life. Smallpox, polio, and syphilis, once constant threats, are now distant memories for many, and recent antibody-based therapies continue to further the human battle against disease. This is the second post in our series. Read the first on home pregnancy tests.

When did you first learn about your immune system? Maybe you have childhood memories of being vaccinated, hearing about the protection your body was building through antibodies. Perhaps you can recall middle or high school biology diagrams depicting the whole immune system: antigens, T-cells, B-cells, and little Y-shaped drawings of helpful antibodies formed to tag a specific threat to the body.

For scientists throughout the 20th century, studying the immune system not only led to a greater understanding of how our bodies fight foreign invaders, but opened the door to new kinds of treatments that harnessed antibodies for medicine.

Antibodies as cures are nothing new. Since the late 19th century, scientists understood that a protective and curative power from disease existed in the blood of creatures that had been exposed to toxins or illness. They applied this knowledge to create a treatment known as serum therapy. The mechanism was simple: harvest blood serum from animals that had been exposed to a disease and inject it in people suffering from that disease. While researchers didn't fully understand how the cure worked (it essentially transferred antibodies from one creature to another), their work did inspire a hope for the future. Researchers theorized that eventually they would be able to create a "magic bullet" from customized antibodies perfectly suited to attacking foreign invaders.

Three amber-colored bottles that resemble upside down bells with handles. They have yellowed labels on them.

By 1975 the invention of monoclonal antibody (mAb) technology made that dream real. At the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, researchers César Milstein and Georges Köhler developed a technique for creating cells that could pump out streams of identical antibodies, custom-selected to attach to specific targets. This long-awaited breakthrough led to a variety of uses for monoclonal antibodies, some of which can be seen in the museum's collections.

The first boom in the use of mAbs was in diagnostics, or disease detection. The designer proteins improved everything from pregnancy tests to tests for early signs of kidney damage.

A thin, opaque, nearly flat plastic package lies next to a plastic instrument with green detailing that is covered in text. The object resembles a razor in shape and there is a white strip inside of it.

It would take years for mAbs to become successful drugs, but, by 2016, five of the world's ten most-profitable drugs were antibody-based. The museum has several examples in its collections, including Orthoclone, the first FDA-approved monoclonal drug, and Herceptin, a groundbreaking breast cancer drug.

A small, clear bottle with blue text standing upright tapers to a dropper shape at the top. It may have clear liquid in it.

Although one would expect to find mAbs represented in drugs and diagnostics, you might be surprised to know the museum has T-shirts featuring them as well. In 2013 the museum collected a number of T-shirts from the biotech company Genentech as an example of the firm's unique corporate culture. From its earliest days, Genentech employees celebrated projects by making team shirts. Designs featured slogans like "clone or die." As many of its recent drugs are mAbs, the Y-shaped proteins get a shout-out in T-shirts as well.

Combined images of a white shirt with an illustration of an upstretched fist holding an object looking like metal bars, then a close up of the shirt illustration.

This image celebrates Rituxan, the first monoclonal antibody drug produced by Genentech, in partnership with IDEC Pharmaceuticals. Rituxan was also the first mAb approved for cancer treatment. Cancer treatment had long been a goal for mAbs. Researchers hoped the targeted therapies would mean fewer side effects than traditional treatments, which damage both healthy and cancerous cells.

The image of a fist grasping an antibody works on two levels. It can be read both as a celebratory fist pump and an image of long-awaited control over these powerful proteins.

Juxtaposed image of a long-sleeved white tshirt with an illustration on the chest and a closeup of that illustration

Antibodies normally have two arms, which give them their Y-shape. However, because double-armed antibodies proved ineffective at capturing c-Met, researchers designed MetMAb to only have a single arm. The green stripes on the fisherman's arm represent a schematic design of that single-armed protein. This fun depiction of an antibody at work was designed by Katie Schwall—daughter of Ralph Schwall, one of the scientists who worked on the MetMAb project.

Although, as historian of medicine Lara V. Marks argues in The Lock and Key of Medicine, mAbs can be seen as a forgotten story of the biotech boom, we're trying to give them their time in the spotlight. If this has whetted your appetite for mAb history, check out our recently launched Antibody Initiative Website exploring antibody-based collections at the museum.

Mallory Warner is a curatorial assistant in the Division of Medicine and Science.

On Monday, October 16, 2017, join us to learn about the vaccines of Dr. Maurice Hilleman. They changed American history—yet few of us now know his name.

The Antibody Initiative was made possible through the generous support of Genentech.

Posted Date: 
Friday, October 13, 2017 - 08:00
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