Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, England
Boat sailed by aerostatic 'wings'
From the collection
Plate 21 for the paper “Sur un moyen de donner la Direction aux machines aerostatiques”, by Comte de Galvez [Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of Galveston and Count of Gálvez (1746-1786)], Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol.74 part 2 (1784), pp.469-470. The original paper in which this illustration appeared was in the form of a certificate signed by five witnesses to the experiment of trying the boat. The illustration shows the vessel under way with three pairs of ‘sails’ being operated manually. The papers states that these were inspired by “the use birds make of their wings in flying & fish of their fins and tail in swimming”. The sails are on three whalebone ribs or spars sitting on a central beam which runs the length of the boat mounted on A-frames. Within the hull, two gentlemen can be seen drinking from flagons. The boat was trialled on the Canal de Manzanares, Madrid, Spain.
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