Paris, Cuchet, 1783-1784.
2 volumes 8vo [192 x 122 mm]: XL, 299, (7) pp., 9 plates and 1 folding table ; (1) l., 366 pp., (1) l. of errata and 5 plates. Bound in contemporary marbled calf, spine ribbed and decorated, edges red. Heads and tails of spines damaged.
« Faujas de Saint-Fond, an eminent French scientist, was at once the sponsor of the Montgolfiers and their chronicler. He set on foot a subscription to repeat an experiment conducted by them in June 1783 when ‘a cloud enclosed in a bag’, in fact a linen globe of 105 feet circumference in which the air was heated by a straw fire, made a successful ascent at Annonay. The subscribers preferred the hydrogen-filled balloon devised by Charles. This was only 13 feet in diameter and its ascent took place from the Champs de Mars in Paris in August 1783. This feat, however, was surpassed by the Montgolfiers in September when they successfully launched a balloon carrying a sheep, a cock and a duck, and even more sensationally in November when, after some tethered experiments, Pilâtre de Rozier, accompanied by the Marquis d’Arlandes, made the first aerial voyage in history. They ascended from the Château de la Muette in the Bois de Boulogne, sustained their flight for five-and-a-half miles across Paris and descended after twenty-five minutes on the outskirts of the city. Faujas de Saint-Fond’s ‘Description of the Aerial Machine of MM. Montgolfier’ was the earliest record of this flight, written and published in the very year of its accomplishment. It is the first serious treatise on aerostation as a practical possibility”. (PMM 229).
The illustration consists of 14 figures of aerostatic experiments, drawn by Lorimier and engraved by De Launay and Sellier.
Complete copies preserved in their uniform contemporary bindings are rare.
Provenance: G. Goury (handwritten note: “G. Goury Ing. Des P. Et Ch.” at the beginning of the volumes).