Eccentric inventor's monograph on kites
Pocock, George. The Aeropleustic Art, or Navigation by the Use of Kites, or Bouyant Sails.
[London: W. Wilson for Sherwood and Co., 1827]. First edition. Quarto. , 51, pp. Engraved title with hand-coloured aquatint vignette and three hand-coloured aquatints by P. Roberts; after Thomas Buttersworth and Samuel Colman. . Later quarter morocco over marbled boards. Bound without the ads. Light foxing to text, small marginal tear to leaf first leaf of preface, binding rubbed; a very good or better copy of a rarely encountered book.
First edition, quite rare. The eccentric George Pocock, evangelist, schoolmaster and inventor, settled in Bristol where he opened a school for boys, to whom this work is dedicated. He provides a history of kites and details experiments with them as auxiliary sails for ships, as a means of rescue from shipwrecks, for signals, crossing rivers and most famously for his patented Char-volant, a kite powered carriage that could reach speeds of twenty miles per hour. The text is strewn with literary references and poetry, exhibiting the versatile and quirky personality of this most unusual author. The beautifully executed plates illustrate these various experiments, especially the slightly humorous scene with the Char-volants gleefully roving an idyllic countryside in multiple directions. A strain of defensiveness is unmistakeable in this work, and another item in our offerings, "The March of Reason" (1828) may paint a picture of why: it includes two of Pocock's proposed uses of kites in it's satirization of various new ideas of the day. (#kfk233) $7,500.00