“Premier areostat électrique a hélice.”

“Premier areostat électrique a hélice.”

The Carruthers Aviation Collection on the history of aviation was presented to Claremont McKenna College in 1950 by the Rev. John F. B. Carruthers and his wife, nee Mabel Grandin. Subsequent gifts and purchases have increased the collection to its present size of approximately 4,000 volumes.


“Globe fait pour être dirigé, c. 1785.” from Ballons by the Ariel Press.

“Globe fait pour être dirigé, c. 1785.” from Ballons by the Ariel Press.

The strong emphasis on World War I aeronautical history is represented by Italian, French, British and American publications. Of comparable interest is material on the history and development of ballon flight. L’Art de Voyager dans les Airs, ou Les Ballons (Paris, 1784) and the 1786 English publication Airopaidia… printed for the author and illustrator, Thomas Baldwin at Chester, give descriptions and instructions for the obviously growing popularity of the sport. The latter includes colored plates of views from a balloon, maps and tables.


Mr. Carruthers collected information about early experiments with flight, imaginary or real, from Leonardo to M. Egerton, whose guide to Waterloo, Here and There Over the Water (London, 1825) includes amusing colored plates indicating propulsion by steam from a patent kettle over the English Channel. A limited edition from the Chiswick Press, 1919, The British King Who Tried to Fly… gives extracts from old chronicles and histories relating to Bladud, ninth king of England. Journals, reference items, maps, and charts accompany the books in this collection.

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