First Carriage, "The Ariel"


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Gift of the Norfolk Charitable Trust


Print, Lithograph on Paper, Colored


2-D - Unframed (H x W): 24.4 × 34cm (9 5/8 × 13 3/8 in.)

Country of Origin

Great Britain



Physical Description

  • Colored lithograph of the "Ariel" aircraft flying over the Nile with the Great Pyramid visible in the distance. The Ariel, or the Aerial Steam Carriage, was designed by John Stringfellow and William Samuel Henson.
  • 'Published in London, Great Britain on March 18th, 1843 by Ackermann & Co. Strand., Day & Haghe, Lithrs. To the Queen.'
  • William Samuel Henson, John Stringfellow, Frederick Marriott, and D.E. Colombine, incorporated the "Aerial Transit Company" under English law in 1843. Their goal was to fund the construction of a flying machine capable of carrying "letters, goods and passengers from place to place through the air." Henson built a scale model of his design, which made one tentative steam powered run down a guide wire. Unsuccessful attempts to fly the small model, and a larger model with a 20-foot wing span, happened between 1844 and 1847. In an attempt to gain investors and support in Parliament, the company engaged in a major publicity campaign using images of the Ariel in exotic locales, but the company failed to gain the needed investment.


ART-Prints, Original

Inventory Number


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