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Aerostation, pl. 2, fig. 2-5

 Digital Record
Identifier: VBI_000038


  • Creation: 1816


Conditions Governing Use

Access to the Theodore Newton Vail Collection of Aeronautical Images, Broadsides and Clippings is not authorization to publish. Separate written application for permission to publish must be made to the Institute Archives. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection.

Biographical / Historical

James Sadler was an inventor who became the first English aeronaut when he ascended from Oxford on October 4, 1784. He made several more ascents before retiring from public aeronautics in 1785 to focus on engineering. 25 years later, Sadler returned to ballooning, and in 1812 attempted to cross the Irish sea from Dublin to Hollyhead. For this, Sadler built a large balloon, the ‘Erin-go-bragh’, with a 55 feet diameter and a capacity of 87,114 cubic feet. Sadler was blown out to sea during the voyage and rescued by a fishing boat. The details of this voyage were published in "Balloon. An authentic narrative of the ærial voyage, of Mr. Sadler, across the Irish channel...." Sadler was followed in his aeronautic pursuits by his sons William Windham Sadler (1796-1824) and John Sadler.

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Box 3

Related Materials


Physical Description

Art on Paper


26.9 x 20.8 cm

General Note

Engraving illustrating James Sadler’s ascent at Merton Fields, Oxford, and the mechanics of balloon inflation.

Sources used for Biographical/Historical note

Hodgson, J.E., History of Aeronautics in Great Britain (Oxford University Press, London, 1924), 140-156.

Rolt, L.T.C., The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning 1783-1903 (Walker, New York, 1966), 79-81, 99-102.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

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