The Atmotic Ship by the Hon. W. Bland, M.L.C. William BLAND.

The Atmotic Ship…
The Atmotic Ship by the Hon. W. Bland, M.L.C.

Sydney: David Mason, printer, circa 1866.

Single printed sheet measuring 570 x 445 mm. in good condition, mounted.

Atmotic: pioneering steam driven airship in 1860s Sydney

Rare Sydney broadside and a milestone in aviation history. This ephemeral large single sheet promotes the 'Atmotic Ship' – an early steam driven airship designed to carry passengers, the inspiration of Sydney surgeon and parliamentarian William Bland (1789-1868). The Atmotic ship was to be a self-propelled balloon fitted with a large deck capable of holding numerous passengers. It was to be driven by steam powered propellers and controlled with a simple steering apparatus. In this broadside, printed some 15 years after Bland patented his invention, the airship is described and illustrated with four detailed plans. Various practical hazards and obstacles are broached, including the danger of the inflammable gas balloon exploding, and the alarming risk of lighting striking the vessel. Possible uses identified for the craft include astronomy, the delivery of long-distance post, and safe carriage of gold and gemstones, as well as exploring the interior of Australia and other inaccessible regions.

Rare Sydney broadside and a milestone in aviation history. This ephemeral large single sheet promotes the 'Atmotic Ship' – an early steam driven airship designed to carry passengers, the inspiration of Sydney surgeon and parliamentarian William Bland (1789-1868). The Atmotic ship was to be a self-propelled balloon fitted with a large deck capable of holding numerous passengers. It was to be driven by steam powered propellers and controlled with a simple steering apparatus. In this broadside, printed some 15 years after Bland patented his invention, the airship is described and illustrated with four detailed plans. Various practical hazards and obstacles are broached, including the danger of the inflammable gas balloon exploding, and the alarming risk of lighting striking the vessel. Possible uses identified for the craft include astronomy, the delivery of long-distance post, and safe carriage of gold and gemstones, as well as exploring the interior of Australia and other inaccessible regions.
Bland began his long and varied career as a naval surgeon. A duel in Bombay brought him to Australia in chains; here he gained some prominence as a vocal emancipist and effervescent member of the Sydney Town community. Throughout his life, Bland championed civil freedoms and worked extensively in the interests of the poor and disadvantaged. With real prescience Bland imagines here not just the delights of air travel but the perils that such innovation might introduce with the 'barbarous nations of the earth' overwhelming the civilized world using fleets of Atmotic ships; ultimately he decides that the risk is an acceptable price of progress.
This broadside is rare: copies are known in three institutional collections including the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library.

Price (AUD): $4,250.00  other currencies     Ref: #4403227

Condition Report