THE PATRON SAINT OF AVIATION AND THE 1843 “AERIAL STEAM CARRIAGE” BY WILLIAM SAMUEL HENSON

This boot (also available with Spanish text) is inspired by two unrelated but interesting individuals: Saint Joseph of Cupertino (Italy) and WilliamSamuel Henson (England). From Wikipedia:

The future Patron Saint of Aviation, Joseph of Cupertino, was born Giuseppe Maria Desa, the son of Felice Desa and Francesca Panara in the village of Cupertino, then in the Province of Apulia, in the Kingdom of Naples, now in the Italian Province of Lecce.

Joseph began to experience ecstatic visions as a child, which were to continue throughout his life, and made him the object of scorn. He applied to the Capuchin friars in Martino, near Taranto, by whom he was accepted in 1620 as a lay brother, but was soon dismissed as hiscontinued ecstasies made him unfit for the duties required of him. He was ordained a priest on March 28, 1628. He was then sent to the Shrine of the Madonna della Grazia, where he spent the next 15 years.

After this point, the occasions of ecstasy in Joseph's life began to multiply. It was claimed that he began to levitate while participating at the Mass or joining the community for the Liturgy of the Hours, thereby gaining a widespread reputation of holiness among the people of the region and beyond (“…prone to miraculous levitation and visions of intense ecstasy that left him gaping”). He was deemed disruptive by his religious superiors and Church authorities, however, and eventually was confined to a small cell, forbidden from joining in any public gathering of the community.

As the phenomenon of flying or levitation was widely believed to be connected with witchcraft, Joseph was denounced to the Inquisition and exiled. Died 9 July 1657.

William Samuel Henson (3 May 1812 - 1888) was a pre-Wright brothers aviation engineer and inventor. Thinking contrary to early attempts at airplane design, he suggested that wings should NOT flap, but instead be fixed, and incorporate a means of forward propulsion with engines/propellers and attitude control using tail-mounted surfaces.

William Samuel Henson was born in Nottingham, England and involved in lace-making in Chard, which increasingly was mechanized at that time, and he obtained a patent on improved lace-making machines in 1835. Starting c. 1838, Henson became interested in aviation and in April 1841 he patented an improved lightweight steam engine, and with fellow lacemaking-engineer John Stringfellow in c. 1842 he designed a large passenger-carrying steam-powered monoplane, with a wing span of 150 feet, which he named the "Henson Aerial Steam Carriage" and received a patent on it in 1843 along with Stringfellow.

The Aerial's wings were rectangular, and were formed by wooden spars covered with fabric, and braced, internally and externally, with wires.The Aerial Steam Carriage was to be powered by two contra-rotating six-bladed propellers mounted in the rear in a push-type system. The design follows earlier "birdlike" gliders, and the ideas of George Cayley, and Henson corresponded with Cayley in an attempt to obtain funding after the efforts to obtain the support of Parliament and sell stock failed. The Aerial Transit Company never built the largest version of the Aerial Steam Carriage because of the failed attempts with the medium-sized model. Henson, Stringfellow, Marriott and Colombine dissolved the company around 1848.

Henson, Cayley, and Stringfellow’s efforts are the subject of a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC in the Samuel P Langley collection.

The Cuppertino

  • Product Code: BTS-AV-02
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $1,900.00


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