1709: a Jesuit Flying Ship by Bartolomeu de Gusmão

Quote: Uncolored etching of "The Flying Ship" proposed by the Jesuit Bartolomeu de Gusmão (1685-1724). On August 8, 1709, Gusmão is said to have flown a small balloon before the court in the Casa da Índia in Lisbon. The image in question may be a representation of a heavier-than-air machine proposed by Gusmão, or more likely, a representation of a proposed large balloon drawn by someone unfamiliar with the actual appearance of Gusmão's design. The craft is shown aloft with clouds and sun in the background. It features a bird-like shape and decorations. The operator sits in the open body of the bird with a telescope and globes. Oars are provided for propulsion. Parts are marked with letters A-I, but no key is present.

flying-ship.jpg

Source
I probably would not be posting the above drawing was it not for the altered drawing below.

aircraft.jpg

Source
As you can see, the tail ends do not really match.

flying-ship-6.jpg

And what do you think really this is?

flying-ship11.jpg

Here is some additional info: source.

a1.jpg

a2.jpg

a3.jpg

a4.jpg

a5.jpg

Sources:


KD: Basically, wanted to see what the opinions on this change of the rear portion of the aircraft was, in addition to:
  • Why would somebody replace possible nozzles (KD) with feathers?
  • What do you think we have displayed in the rear (nozzle-like objects) of the top image?
To be honest, I have hard time imagining why we even have this nozzle resemblance in the beginning of the 18th century.

Additionally, if we could locate the original legend for the top image, that would be great.
 

reverendALC

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Doing a little digging on this matter, I found this page:

Early Aviators - Bartolomeu Lourenco de Gusmao

This image and quote:

pass.gif

"It was filled with numerous tubes, through which the wind flowed and filled out the bulges which gave it shape."

Side note: The pictures KD posted, the flag represents seven castles/kingdoms... this image has what looks like a lighthouse or mooring tower? or perhaps, it's just a very squished older Portuguese flag:

images.png

in studying older Portuguese flags, I found this:

Screen Shot 2022-07-20 at 9.37.03 AM.jpg

The coat of arms before an armillary sphere, just like seen on the "aircraft"
 
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  • jd755

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    I would say that's a gyroscope! Good find.
    View attachment 12633
    View attachment 12634
    Or one of these.
    delaglobes.jpg


    Edit to add
    These deepl translations from the French key under the second image. Cannot find the key for the first image which is a shame as the two images are keyed slightly differently. Perhaps we need to find out which book the first image is in to see if a foreign site has a digitised copy available.

    B. Rudder
    E.E. Magnet enclosed in two metal globes attracting the body of the double iron blade boat

    And Google translates translation.

    B. Rudder
    E.E. Magnet Enclosed in two metal globes attracting the body of the boat doubled with iron blades
     
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    reverendALC

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    I agree, they’re more likely armillary spheres/astrolabes. I can’t imagine any great utility for a gyroscope on an aircraft of that nature, let alone two. The inherent design of the craft seems to indicate it would remain near level, as a pendulum suspended from the sail above.

    antiquity seems to be complete with (assumed or alleged) knowledge of the skies and the stars, especially in terms of navigation. A single sphere would be useful to pinpoint your location, but we know that a single point tells nothing about where it’s going or where it’s been. Plotting two points however, it’s easy to determine the direction of travel.

    There is clearly a compass above, but…. If we were to assume a flat earth, or at least to assume the assumption of a flat earth with a central magnetic pole, north becomes considerably less meaningful when navigating away from the pole.

    this all seems rather moot though, as what I think I know about physics suggests that this was a daydream. Unless some sort of levitation technology existed that has since been suppressed.
    E.E. Magnet Enclosed in two metal globes attracting the body of the boat doubled with iron blades

    hmmm. Seems fallacious. Magnets cannot attract that which they’re attached to. The upper image clearly exhibits a compass, which would be rendered useless near such massive magnets. Also, the upper image clearly portrays the globes as detailed.

    F, a cover made of iron wire, in form of a net, on which are fastened a good number or large amber beads, which by a secret operation will help to keep the
    ship aloft;


    I must know about this secret operation.


    EE, the globes of heaven and earth,
    containing in them attractive virtues.
    They are of metal, and serve for a cover to two lodestones, placed in them, upon the pedestals , to draw the ship after them…
     
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    jd755

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    For what its worth I reckon the coloured image is a parody mocking the content of the line drawing. Without the key to guide us we are yet again left in speculative imagining.
    That said even the line drawing feels like a parody. Perhaps it was produced when iron hulled ships began replacing wooden hulled ships to show the iron hulls as flights of fancy.

    I cannot see a compass in either image.
     
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  • jd755

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    We are looking at three iterations of this subject with no way to determine which, if any of them, is the basis of the others.
    Top drawing. High quality engraving with no key.
    Middle drawing. Lower quality coloured engraving with a key.
    Bottom lowest quality drawing with a key and text.

    The object labelled H in the top drawing is an oval with a directional arrow attached in the exact centre. Its outer rim has either lettering or numbering on it it is too indistinct to read on this tablet screen.

    The object is completely missing on the second drawing and the label H is placed next to something else.

    The object is there in the bottom drawing and labelled H and the key states its a compass however it is impossible to determine what it is from this drawing.
    Which is why you had to use a crop of the top drawing to make the key of the third drawing make sense.

    Ignoring the colour drawing as it doesn't have the object and the H is attached to something else.
    The object in the other two drawings is depicted in broadly the same location just under or hanging from the gridded ceiling/roof/structure with its face facing the viewer of the drawing not the man in the vessel. In both it is well above the man so to actually read and therefore navigate with a compass located over his head would strike me as being particularly difficult if not pointless.

    In all contemporary situations the compass is looked down on, physical compasses not digital display compasses I mean but even digital displays are in line of sight not above the navigators head!

    It has the feel of something added in as an afterthought where someone asked "Where is the compass?" as the drawing was being done. Speculation obviously and quite happy to entertain anyone else's ideas on why probably the most vital navigating device on the vessel should be attached where it is so do have at it.

    Everything else in the two drawings, top and bottom ones, looks to be in place as in their placement makes sense.

    Edit to add.
    Went to start page with the search string; Bartolomeu de Gusmão
    Which brought me this site
    Where the article suggests this image already posted in the thread, is the original again no bloody key!
    The thing labelled H is a man and he is holding something to his eye looking in the direction of something labelled G which appears to be a globe!

    pass.gif

    With that said it seems the significance of the machine/device/vessel is down played in the article.
    The invention of the Priest was called Passarola, because of its resemblance to a bird. It was filled with numerous tubes, through which the wind flowed and filled out the bulges which gave it shape.
    The conception and construction of the airship by Bartolomeu de Gusmão, represented the first gigantic step which was represented by his invention, from which would come the airplane, Bartolomeu de Gusmão is properly considered to be the Father of the Airship, having preceeded by 74 years the Montgolfier brothers, who flew in a hot air balloon in 1783.
    From this site comes a different take which points to big bird never going beyond the design drawing.
    His first attempt on 8 August 1709 in the presence of King John V of Portugal was a success although it alarmed the servants who doused the balloon in fear that the house would catch fire. According to an eyewitness the balloon was constructed of thick paper, and fire material was in an earthenware bowl suspended beneath. This is long before the "first hot air balloon" of the Montgolfier brothers in 1783. Gusmão is rumored to have flown in a larger balloon himself, but lacking proof of that credit for manned flight must be given elsewhere.
    Trying again as an edit just vanished. Inc the uploaded image!

    Intrigued by the name of this bloke whose device is said to be the basis if the big bird device using statpage I found this.

    download.jpeg

    Which looks to me to be of the same quality of the first engraving/drawing at the top of this page. A key is once again missing despite the letters showing there must be one in the physical book which has been turned into a PDF, thankfully. Written in Italian so its a deepl or Google translate journey I'm afraid.

    What is intriguing is the notes of this copy up for sale poor Bartoleu doesn't get a mention!
    LANA TERZI, Francesco (1631-1687). Prodromo overo saggio di alcune inventioni nuove premesso all' arte maestra . Brescia: Rizzardi, 1670. First edition of an important work in the history of aeronautics . In the Prodromo Lana Terzi presented several technological innovations, of which the best known is his proposal for a 'flying boat,' to be airborne by four spheres of thin copper from which air had been exhausted. Although the vehicle was never tested, and would have proved unworkable, since the copper would not have been able to withstand the atmospheric pressure, Lana Terzi's reasoning was correct. In surmising that a vessel containing a semi-vacuum would weigh less than the surrounding air and would consequently become buoyant, Lana Terzi formulated the earliest concept of flight based on aerostatic principles. 'While Lana apparently originated the method of reducing air density in a vessel by heating it, the implications of this phenomenon in relation to flight were not fully understood until the advent of the Montgolfier brothers a century later' (Norman). Dibner Heralds of Science 176; Wellcome III, p. 440; Norman 1272. Folio (298 x 201mm). 20 engraved plates, all but two printed on facing pages of pairs of conjugate leaves, woodcut initials and tail-piece ornaments, type ornament head-pieces (repaired long closed tear to titlepage, leaves of the initial quire repaired and reinforced at gutter, four of the plate leaves reinforced at gutter, short repaired marginal tear to the last leaf, some light marginal waterstaining to the last few quires, an occasional spot). 19th-century speckled half calf, marbled sides, flat spine decorated in gilt with two contrasting morocco lettering-pieces (some surface wear and rubbing).
     
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    reverendALC

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    If we are to assume this is the original image:

    1658503520219.jpeg

    then this image with the key is very similarly labeled:

    1658503568035.jpeg

    Not only are the labels similar, but the features are represented in a very similar if not identical fashion.

    With regard to the compass, it’s called a “telltale compass” and is frequently hung from above:

    1658504126708.jpeg

    the colored drawing in between, it seems somebody had taken great artistic liberty. The pulleys do not resemble pulleys but embellishments. The lateral wings and rudder do not appear to have utility, but rather pay homage to the bird in a literal sense.

    interestingly enough, the least credible image (colored one) has a more detailed illustration of the “iron wire net” with “large amber beads” which caused the craft to fly.

    I’m really most keenly interested in the alleged levitation method of this ship. I do believe that magnetism (or electromagnetism) Is at the core of much fabled antiquitech. I also believe, on faith I suppose, that magnetism is at the core of this contraption and that may be corroborated by the iron net. What role could amber possibly play?

    a quick google of “electromagnetism amber” yields many results! Apparently the Greek were interested in amber for this purpose, and I read many quotes like this:

    Amber possesses an electromagnetic quality that can build up an electrical charge”
     
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    jd755

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    The only mention of magnets is in those keys. The other sites I linked too talk of hot air and density difference which make more sense to me. And its worth noting if big bird vessel arose out of the ball boat vessel then that is further evidence it was heated air that was doing the lifting not magnetism.

    The things we assumed to be armillary spheres must be some kind of burning device although they are above the hull of the vessel so that would rather negate that idea. The only other place for the fire is the hull itself. Where and what the fuel could be is a mystery.

    Given my experience with magnets it is extremely difficult at the very best, often impossible, to get them stable enough in levitation but as there is only a push force in this reality even if the magnet's were capable of levitating this vessel it would be at the mercy of the winds for lateral movement.
    No idea how such a vessel could go up and down though as magnets only pull off their levitation effect when close together. Moving them closer togetherr or further apart does nothing to provide lift which the vessel would need to get over a hedge let alone trees, steeple or hills.

    Then there is lightning. Pretty sure lightning whatever it is would be attracted to a powerful pair of magnets in the atmosphere.

    As I said before though it is highly doubtful this vessel was ever built.

    You are onto something with your telltale compass idea as it could put a date to the OP drawing if we discover the date they were invented.

    If this is true they were hung in captains cabins not from an open ceiling.

    Telltale compasses are designed to hang from above, usually used above the captains bunk so the captain could keep an eye on the ships heading while in his bunk.
     

    reverendALC

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    were you to place a gun to my head and ask "was this ship ever built?" I would without hesitation say "no." even after some in-depth investigation, nothing leads me to believe that this ship was even viable in any way. it certainly appears to be some fantastical flight of fancy (pun intended).

    but...

    let's look at the classic movie Blade Runner from 1982. It's placed in "the future" right? but the future and its magnificent technologies are derived from the technology of the early 1980s. this screen grab here shows some high tech equipment:

    1658507285609.jpg

    which looks antiquated and vintage to us today. We know flat panel LCD televisions, microscopic processors, and more. coming from the CRT television age, even their futures included CRT screens.

    the parallel I'm drawing here, is that Blade Runner and the Jesuit Flying Ship are futuristic works of fiction, but both (perhaps) firmly based on the reality of their time.

    if magnetic levitation or propulsion was a contemporary thing in the year 1700, wouldn't the daydreamers of the time consider that a viable system for their fancy visions of the future?
     

    jd755

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    The telltale compass was only ever used in captains and admirals cabins and was seemingly always hung so they could see it from a prone position. I still reckon it could date the drawing but its a devils own job to find out anything about the history of the thing let alone its invention.

    Magnetic levitation and magnetic propulsion is doable with powerful and carefully calibrated electro magnets. Though it is difficult to control as the magnetic river video by Eric Lewthwaite on YouTube shows.

    It still doesn't answer lift though. To lift something higher in the air that is already airborne using magnets seems impossible to me. I know of no device which could increase the lift of itself when magnetic levitation is the thing already pushing it up off of the ground.

    Its similar to the difference between the ekranoplans and conventional aircraft. The ekranoplan will never get more than a few feet above the water because it is designed for the air it moves in but the conventional aircraft can also fly a few feet above the waves as it is designed for a wider range of air, if I am making sense, always questionable.

    Indeed if waves get too high the ekranoplan becomes a boat wheras a conventional plane doesn't.

    FWIW I feel the Jesuit connection itself is a work of fiction.
     
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  • reverendALC

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    I’m going to poke you here JD. You are wont to remind us how unreliable information and text from the “past” is. You have opined that anything beyond our personal life cycle is anecdotal at best… yet you seem to reference the statement “usually used above the captains bunk so the captain could keep an eye on the ships heading while in his bunk” with all but certainty. Can you both have your cake and eat it? Or is historical account only unreliable when it confronts your theory?

    I would agree that it seems telltale compasses were most frequently used in that configuration, but I could also reasonably see an overhead compass being used in any fashion it lent itself to. Perhaps an amount of elevation is suitable to a suspended compass? After doing a deeper dive into telltale compasses, I also notice that many of them have E embellished albeit to a lesser degree than N. What’s the significance? Perhaps for another thread…

    also however, I will admit I cannot both have my cake and eat it; if that iron net with amber beads was in fact some electromagnetic field generator, attaching a compass to it would be an exercise in futility unless you desired the needle to always point toward the net. Perhaps it somehow indicated the strength of the magnetic field.

    I will wholly agree with you that managing magnets in any meaningful way with our current knowledge is damned difficult. I’ll also note that assembling the pyramids of Egypt or balancing the door at Rock Gate/Coral Castle is also not feasible with our current technology. It was done in the past however with uncanny precision.
     
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    Nekro

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    The only mention of magnets is in those keys. The other sites I linked too talk of hot air and density difference which make more sense to me. And its worth noting if big bird vessel arose out of the ball boat vessel then that is further evidence it was heated air that was doing the lifting not magnetism.

    The things we assumed to be armillary spheres must be some kind of burning device although they are above the hull of the vessel so that would rather negate that idea. The only other place for the fire is the hull itself. Where and what the fuel could be is a mystery.

    Given my experience with magnets it is extremely difficult at the very best, often impossible, to get them stable enough in levitation but as there is only a push force in this reality even if the magnet's were capable of levitating this vessel it would be at the mercy of the winds for lateral movement.
    No idea how such a vessel could go up and down though as magnets only pull off their levitation effect when close together. Moving them closer togetherr or further apart does nothing to provide lift which the vessel would need to get over a hedge let alone trees, steeple or hills.

    Then there is lightning. Pretty sure lightning whatever it is would be attracted to a powerful pair of magnets in the atmosphere.

    As I said before though it is highly doubtful this vessel was ever built.

    You are onto something with your telltale compass idea as it could put a date to the OP drawing if we discover the date they were invented.

    If this is true they were hung in captains cabins not from an open ceiling.
    Magnetic fields will cause paths of electrical currents to bend if the currents are inside the fields. But the magnetic fields produced by permanent magnets weaken greatly over small distances, and are not strong enough to affect the ionization paths in air, except at points very close to the magnet. They don't extend far enough with significant strength to change the locations of the ionization paths. The electric fields from the electrical polarizations extend much further.

    Oddly if the magnet were incredibly strong, strong enough to visibly affect the path of lightning, it would tend to deflect the lightning away. Magnetic forces act perpendicularly to the directions of motion of electrical currents.

    Lightning is static discharge — a pocket of charge is attracted to a pocket of the opposite charge. When perchance two such opposite charge pockets are close enough for the force on the charges to be great enough to move them.
     

    jd755

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    You won't know but is through my discovery of and my participation in our esteemed hosts first incarnation of this site that I came to accept theories are self fulfilling fantasies.
    These days I just have speculation based in personal experience coupled with whatever information comes to my attention by digital, or real world texts, photos and to a much lesser degree video and film.

    So in the case of the telltale compasses the available evidence for their use points to them being developed for the purpose I stated. Whether that is true or not I will never find out but it does make sense and given the lack of evidence to the contray a likely truth. To me thats good enough.

    I have a little to add to the prominent E its to do with the winds. Sailing vessels masters pay more attention to the prevailing wind than anything else. Its also the direction the sun rises which also has a bearing on the E being more prominent but buggered if I can recall with more precision. Westerlies and easterlies being the direction of travel that moves the sailing ships across the ocean so having a prominent E provides a clear indication of direction in terms of destination even in a gloomy cabin.

    There are myriads of structures and infrastructure we seem incapable of comprehending today. However what we contemporary humans seem even more incapable of, which is a tad scary quite frankly, is imagining the actual process of how things were done. We always go from what we do today as a start point instead of asking ourselves how would I do it, what would I use.

    Korben and I have had many a ding dong in regards horse and oxen power and what it is capable of which has led to some fascinating research which revealled all manner of cranes neither of us knew existed for one example.
    Another is the fact both scaffolding and cranes used the building that was going up as the supporting structure for themselves. It's still done the same way today but only for buildings which go beyond the reach of mobile cranes or tower cranes fixed to the ground but in the past they went up with the building from the get go. They were easy to dismantle and assemble so at the end they were dismantled and removed leaving next to no trace of their existence. Pulley blocks and rope for example have enormous lifting power yet can be used by two men and leave no trace of their use as can windlasses. Used with cranes, levers, and rollers and there isn't much man power alone cannot build.

    We discovered a simple metal device called a Lewis which is used to lift and hold the weight whilst the block is positioned. Its just a simple pair of levers but there is nothing simpler or more effective yet invented.

    I know this has gone way off topic in a way but they serve to show how I approach figuring things out. Always to my good enough measure.

    I've looked and looked into the etherric energy idea and found nothing but one device which korben actually discovered if memory serves, which if proven to work and no-one here has ever gone to find out, blows the idea of antennas on buildings masquerading as flagpoles whilst capturing ethertic energy out of the window because it is a portable device and it sits inside a building not connected to the outside in any way.

    So using my good enough measure and the complete lack of evidence for a second machine or any electrical equipment or cabling under flagpoles that suggests etheric electricity collection and usage is doubtful.

    Most devices like this big bird vessel tend to be inexplicable simply because they are. As with this one details are ropey at best. It always strikes me as very dodgy what comes through as documentary record and what doesn't like the missing key for the OP picture or the book it came from.
    I find it odd that this is a stand alone page from the book when its clearly got a page number on it. Given the sheer number of books on shelves in stately homes succumbing to dust mites and the passage of time on this little island alone there is likely to be a book with its pages intact where we could read the key but the chances of finding it are nil.

    As you may have noticed I do not contribute to many threads. I did when I first began this forum posting lark but I was like a kid in a sweetshop. After reading a copy of Voltaire's History of Charles XII of Sweden for a thread on the original forum, it dates to 1742 and is hard copy not a digital, to find it reads like a novel or magazine yet it is treat by historians as a work of true historical record, well it was enough to approach every historical named character as probably a fiction and suffice to say most like these two Jesuits do collapse into fiction.

    One other thing in regards machines and the events in which they were said to have been used like big bird vessel I have learnt, again through interacting with Korben to look at the logistical aspect of things as a bona fide marker for a veracity claim.
    In this case if it is heated air doing the lifting there has to be some chamber or vessel where the hot air is produced and none is visible. There has to be fuel onboard if it is meant to travel any distance and there isn't any.
    There has to be wings and or rudders to change direction made of something that can take the stresses. Wood and metal are the two obvious choices so what metals might be up to it. Wood seems too heavy.
    How did the machine land, did it land and take off from water if so was it sea or lake, what was the water proofing, how could it be repaired etc etc.
    Even simple things like what did the pilot do when he needed a shit or a piss?
    How much water could it carry, where is it stored?
    All these and more run through my mind when pondering what the hell am I looking at or reading about.

    Just to throw a bit of context into the discussion which has a direct bearing on the OP have a look at the machines in this autochrome photo. Most people below a certain age alive right now would likely assume these machines could not fly but they did. Back then they were cutting edge today they are obsolete.

    It doesn't take long for knowhow to all but vanish.

    Image title: "Here is another old autochome I've restored for you, taken 111 years ago at the first Paris Air Show in September 1909. (It isn't colourised)."

    air-baloon.jpg

    Source
     
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    reverendALC

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    I concur significantly with your diatribe. I also feel like our individual theses have significant congruence while we debate the periphery.

    you said “is imagining the actual process of how things were done. We always go from what we do today as a start point”

    which is my entire interest. That particular craft looks impractical to land and is lacking of any appointments (stowage, quarters, etc). The functionality, nay the existence of that craft is not my interest.

    perhaps however, to borrow your words:

    In the context of a 1700 dreamer,
    iron bars and amber stones “what we do today” perhaps were frequently used for gravitational, propulsion, or other purposes.

    when a child draws a spaceship, it likely draws a spaceship with large burners for propulsion. Not because it’s inherently the best propulsion method or because it’s the most incredible stretch of imagination, but because it’s what the child has seen and been told.

    perhaps this dreamer, dreamed this craft based on what he’d seen and been told.
     
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    jd755

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    True we don't seem to imagine enough these days. Most likely because the society we were born into is one of increasing strangulation of imagination by the noose of regulation.

    Just to illustrate how little we know of how things were done before we are born here is a photograph of men building and installing an in ground wooden pipe. A skill akin to coopering in one way a unique skill in another. The chances of anyone alive today even contemplating the possibility of wooden pipes are as close to zero as makes no odds.

    wooden-pipe.jpg

    Source

    I get the feeling a lot of things that come through history that exist today as drawings never made it off of the paper. They are dreams or ideas made tangible by drawing them down.
    Many artifacts and structures are tangibles that are inexplicable some kept away from examination some left in the open for all to see but few seem to take the time to sit with them and figure them out.
    Puzzles require imagination to create and imagination to solve if we are unable to imagine they remain inexplicable and sad to say the population at large no longer imagines.
     
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    I get the feeling a lot of things that come through history that exist today as drawings never made it off of the paper. They are dreams or ideas made tangible by drawing them down.
    That could be but is questionable. Unfortunately, we will never find out, most likely.
    As far as this wooden pipe goes, it just could be that it was a forced ingenuity vs. common practice. Kind of similar to this:

     

    jd755

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    As far as this wooden pipe goes, it just could be that it was a forced ingenuity vs. common practice. Kind of similar to this
    Glad you brought the horse and car to the table. It isn't what it appears to be as in a car with no fuel being hitched to a horse to provide transportation.

    From this source

    Finnhorse stallion Vienti 4817 doing a horse show pulling test (2. class), pulling the measuring car. Breeder J. H.Vesterinen exceptionally sitting on the car, possibly allowed to do so because of his old age. Car pulling was part of stallions' show prowess in the 1st and 2nd class during 1936–1970.
    Scan from Tammen suuri hevoskirja 3 page 66

    The wooden pipe men are actually coopering it together as the staves are angled.
     
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