Flying, 1902

Identifier: 1902 FLYING (Periodical) 2014028

1902flying1[click on picture to read contents]

Flying. The Record of Aerial Navigation. No.4. Quarterly. September 1902. Illiffe and Sons Ltd, London and Coventry. Pages 148-192. Size: 182 x 245mm.


This issue of Flying dates from the year before the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight. Of course, balloonists had been drifting through the skies for more than a century, and the new technique of gliding was starting to become practical. However, it seems that maintaining a journal on the subject of human flight was difficult. There had already been failures – the front cover of this issue of Flying states: “ … with which are incorporated The Flyer, The Flying Machine, The Aerostat, The Aeronaut.” The quarterly Flying wasn’t cheap at half-a-crown, and it ceased publishing the following year after just six issues and a total of 288 pages.



A wide mix of reports, speculations, and history – from the fanciful ‘The bicycle as an accessory to true flight’, to the second of three parts of the seminal report given to the Western Society of Engineers by Wilbur Wright. This journal is an example of that curious mixture of genuine professional technical progress, and the amateur optimistic fantasy which would largely disappear in mainstream aviation journals as powered heavier-than-air flight became widespread.

1902flying4[click to enlarge]


Flying isn’t in the British Library but the National Library of Scotland, and both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, have it – as do half a dozen other libraries found by WorldCat, all but one of which are in the USA. There don’t seem to be any copies of any issue for sale online. So it’s very scarce.

Condition: The pages have been re-sewn onto new guards, and are still bright but fragile in places. Some water stains, finger marks, and folded page corners. The fore-edge is ragged. Damage to the first three (blank) pages, several page corners, and the cover has been repaired with acid-free Japanese tissue. Writing in ink on front cover. The price reflects the fragile nature of this copy.

Price: £35.00 plus postage.

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Le Petit Inventeur – ‘The history of the future’

Le Petit Inventeur

Le Petit Inventeur. New Series nos. 1-25. Editions Albin Michel, Paris. 400 pages, Colour covers, b/w interiors. Hardback, bound in paper-covered boards, with coloured illustration on front. Size: 200 x 282 mm.

I would once have categorised the picture on the cover of this book as ‘Early television’, or ‘Videophone’, but of course it would now be best described as webcam skyping, or whatever the current phrase is for keeping up with family and friends online, both visually and sonically.

Le Petit Inventeur 2

This French magazine started in the early 20s, and this is a re-start from c.1930. Odd little pieces, with many b/w drawings, about all kinds of technological realities and promised future science-fiction gizmos that the boffins were just about to make real. In truth, the covers are the best part – and there are 25 of them, with most reproduced below. Great fun, and useful reference material for anyone writing about ‘the history of the future’. These magazines are not hard to find in their country of origin, but the bound volumes make collecting them much easier, and are rarely found outside of France.

Condition: Interior very good, with usual tanning of the pages. Some foxing to the covers (and minor marks to top margin), and a new webbing repair to the top of the spine. The old pasted-down endpapers are cracking at the spine joint, and there are a couple of small old paper repairs there, but the binding is still holding well so I’ve left those minor faults.

Price: £38.00 plus postage


Le Petit Inventeur3

Le Petit Inventeur4



















The Cyclist, 1889 – 1900

identifier: CYCLIST 1889-1890 [SOLD]

One day in the mid-1960s, as I pedalled along the A23 I was overtaken by a man riding a penny-farthing bicycle. Curious as to what would happen when he reached the red traffic lights up ahead, I was impressed by his technique of slowing almost to a stop and then reaching out to the top of the traffic light pole for support until the lights went green, and then somehow shoving off and away. I think that was the last time I saw a cyclist stop at a red light. I never got to ride a penny-farthing (sorry – Ordinary) but some thirty years ago, encouraged by some cyclist ‘friends’, I entered the first (?) mass Annual London to Brighton cycle ride – on a borrowed ladies’ bike that had been made in 1913, and was equipped with one gear. I’d sold my own bike after too many near-misses with Belgian juggernauts on the New Cross one-way system. I was totally unprepared for the 50-mile ride, but none of us would be the first to give up – so we persevered, walking most of the last ten miles. The train brought us home, and that night my legs felt as if they were exploding. I still have a bike, and drag it out every few months for a flat ride, just a mile or two along the coastal path, but I wouldn’t call myself a cycling enthusiast. So I don’t need this wonderful and very rare book:

The Cyclist Christmas Number for 1889 and Year Book for 1890.


Title page: John Quillpen’s Ride by “F.S.S.” and The Compleat Cycler by Isaac Vaulton. Being “The Cyclist” Christmas Number for 1889 and Year Book for 1890.
Publisher: Illife & Son, 3, Bride Street, Ludgate Circus, London, E.C. and Coventry.
Total page count: 248. With loose-leaf 4-page supplement on blue paper, listing distributors of The Cyclist magazine. Size: 200 x 277mm.



John Quillpen’s Ride
The Compleat Cycler
Resume of Cycling for 1889
Gearing Tables
Racing Calendar for 1889
Who’s Who in Cycling in 1890
The Clubs of the United Kingdom
Volunteer Section
Results of Amateur Championships 1878-89
Tables of Amateur Path Records
Tables of Professional Path Records
Manufacturers, Agents, &c.

Editor: F. Sturmey. The illustrations are by George A W Moore.


Extremely rare. This isn’t in the British Library, or on WorldCat. The Bodleian might have it, and the Veteran Cycle Club Library has a scanned photocopy with pages missing.

Condition: Generally good, with text block in good condition. Repairs have been kept minimal. Some losses to edges of cover, now professionally repaired with acid-free paper. Sellotape staining to cover. The original binding method was stab-stitching near the left edge of the block, and the cord has now been replaced. The cover has been re-attached with Japanese tissue, and some loss to the lower back strip at the spine repaired. Now in an acid-free paper wallet, in cloth covered boards, ready for your bookshelf.


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The Lantern: The Cyclist Year Book

identifier: 2014045 LANTERNCYCLIST [SOLD]

The Lantern: The Christmas Number and Year Book of The Cyclist for 1887-88.

Published by Iliffe & Son, 98 Fleet St, London & Coventry. PRICE ONE SHILLING.

Softback, size 204 x 278mm. Pagination starts on page 33 (following the unpaginated Christmas Number), and ends with page 126. The many advertising pages are extra to the 126.

Contents as follows:

First: Eighteen pages of advertisements (most advertising pages are on pink paper). Introduction, explaining that the contents are “a combination of fact and fancy…”. Thirteen plates on thick stock, one showing the year 1887 passing, and heralding 1888, and one for each month. The plates comprise drawings of mock-historical scenes appropriate to the season, three or four per page, with one picture on each page having cycling relevance.

The illustrations are all by George A W Moore, a young man who provides his self-portrait, together with those of the other contributors, on the back of the December plate.

click to read

Two pages of ads, then: ‘Our Lantern Social … Critical, Sarcastic Commentary of the doings in the Cycling World during the Year 1887’ – an extraordinary spoof description of a magic lantern show and its participants, all well known characters in the cycling world at that time. Several circular sketches of the supposed lantern slides projected at the show are included. This ‘account’ stretches over almost 40 pages (37-76), including music sheet, words to songs and recitations, all interspersed with a further 24 unpaginated pink pages of ads. These are mostly for cycles and accessories, but also include a half-page for cameras and magic lanterns by Perken Son & Rayment, and others for Kingston Dry Plates, and Shew’s Eclipse Pocket Camera.

[click to enlarge]

There follows a Resume of Cycling 1887, Racing Record, Cycle Clubs of the United Kingdom, Who’s Who in Cycling, and a final article: Instantaneous Photography for Cyclists, by editor Henry Sturmey (1857-1930). He provides some useful hints on the particular requirements for the photographer of moving objects, and for their presentation suggests “no better way can be adopted than reproducing his pictures as lantern slides…”. Sturmey will be best remembered by my generation as the inventor with William Archer of the Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub for bicycles.

The cover, also by George Moore, is a tour-de-force, and seems to be previously unknown in the specialist world of magic lantern research. Moore’s drawings are professional, and up to anything being published in Punch or the other major general magazines of the period. A collection of his cyclist-related cartoons from Bicycling News was re-published as a 5-volume limited edition hardback set (The George Moore Collection, Beekay, 1979-82), but I have not seen these, which are fairly scarce. Moore has some small fame as being responsible for the first mention of a sidecar, in a cartoon in the January 7, 1903 issue of Motor Cycling.

Although 12 pence was quite an expense, this was very good value for such a sumptuous publication. Karl Kron, author of Ten Thousand Miles on a Bicycle (1887) described the previous year’s annual, which is similar, as “perhaps the most elaborate and costly amount of such material ever offered for a shilling”.

This 1887-88 publication exceeds all expectations in interest, and is very rare. It does not seem to be listed on WorldCat as a separate item (one or two institutions have editions of the Year Book which have not been catalogued by date), and variations in the title wording on the cover and the title page, and cataloguers’ variants, make it difficult to look for. I have been able to trace only one other known example, in the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian. The National Cycling Archive, University of Warwick possibly has one too, the cataloguing is ambiguous.

The main text block is in generally very good condition, clean and bright. The cover has some minor paper loss from the spine and front top corner, corner loss on back, is foxed and has two ink stains on the front. Sellotape has been removed, leaving residue staining. Small tears to the front cover have been closed with professional repair tissue on the blank borders of the inside of the cover. The rear cover has recently been strengthened with Japanese tissue where it joins the text block, and at the outer edge, to enable the item to be read without the risk of further damage. There have been no other new repairs. The staples are showing rust. The item is housed in a new custom-made clam shell box in blue bookcloth.

Price: SOLD


 One of the 12 monthly plates



Imaginary lantern slides, shown at the Annual Social

Imaginary lantern slides, shown at the Annual Social. Click to enlarge


Goaheadison’s Real Latest

identifier 2014058 GOAHEADISON

In 1973 or ‘74, I was a technical assistant at a late-night presentation at London’s New Victoria Theatre. Usually employed to project films or work the ‘limes’ (follow-spot) for the London Festival Ballet season, my role in this particular show was minimal – but it was certainly an extraordinary experience. A Mohammed Ali boxing match was being transmitted live from the USA, to an Eidophor video projector – a huge, ugly beast that required four men to carry it, strung onto scaffolding poles. The machine was set up in the back stalls, roped off within touching distance of the audience, and the signal came through from the Post Office Tower (as it was then) – to an outside van? – and by cable to the projector. At least that’s how I remember it as I glimpsed the preparations while scurrying about with polystyrene cups of coffee for those who were actually doing the work.

After warming up for an hour the projector gave a ‘raster’ on the screen, and then an amazingly clear black-and-white picture of the ring appeared. Our audience of perhaps 2,000 fight fans jostled into their seats, and the pugilistic punishment began. The technology was all working well, but there was no Plan B. The video technician standing next to the machine said to me as the fight hotted up and our own beered-up crowd became at least as excited as the natives, “You realize, if the projector lamp goes pop or the signal’s lost, we won’t get out of here alive?” I have no interest in boxing and I remember nothing of the bout – perhaps frozen in sheer terror at the potential result of a technical failure – but from the dates it must have been either Joe Bugner (February 14, 1973) or Bob Foster (November 21, 1972) who lost to Ali that night. I was reminded of that episode when I found this item, twenty years later.

Original cartoon artwork signed by James Francis Sullivan (1852-1936) , in period mount.

Professor Goaheadison’s Real Latest

The idea of television and other forms of seeing-at-a-distance flourished in the late 19th century. In 1889 Thomas Edison encouraged reporters to believe that he had already achieved some experimental results with ‘… an invention which will enable a man in Wall-street not only to telephone to a friend near Central Park, say, but to actually see that friend while speaking to him.’1 This invention failed to appear but the popular press and satirists soon latched onto the idea. In July 1889 two relevant cartoons appeared in the satirical magazine Fun, a rival to Punch.

In ‘Professor Goaheadison’s Latest’ (3 July 1889) a gentleman wishes to consult his doctor, Sir Settemup Pilliboy in Harley Street. Not happy about the prospect of a journey to London, he is told of Professor Goaheadison’s Far-Sight Machine: “by means of which a person in Nyork can actually see another person in Shicaago, or Borston, or even ‘Frisco’”. The writer uses the concept to make political comment about contemporary concerns. The text has an accompanying drawing of a videophone / webcam, sketched by James Sullivan, best-known for his cartoons featuring the working man.

A subsequent issue of Fun (17 July 1889) has a three-panel cartoon strip by Sullivan: ‘Goaheadison’s Real Latest’, featuring the Far-Touch Machine, and the original artwork is being offered here. 2

The artist imagines a form of trans-Atlantic cable virtual-reality boxing. No need for one of the fighters to cross to another continent – he could fight from home. A Far-Touch machine is seen as a logical follow-up to Edison’s proposed Far-Sight machine; the latter we are told is being used by the boxers to keep sight of each other as they trade punches.

[click to enlarge]

[click to enlarge]

‘EH? Goaheadison’s Far-Sight Machine? Bless your soul; that’s quite an antiquity now. Quite eclipsed by the Far-Touch machine!

Haven’t read the account of that mill between Dan Dotter of Doncaster and the McFlattener, the Boston Bumper? Oh, yes – all carried out by cable; one end of it at Doncaster, and the other at Boston.

Dan faced the machine at the Doncaster end in good form at 11.32. Some very pretty play. Dan dodged a cleverly-tried jaw-compresser from Mac’s right, and got the electric current onto the ropes in the fifth round.

Then the machine planted several on Dan’s ribs; & Dan came up groggy for the 17th round; but supplied the cable with a neat lifter under the ritht ear at 12.13 1/4.

On the call for the 24th round Mac forgot to come up; & Dan got the belt.

It was a pretty sight throughout; the American cham-pion being distinctly visible through a Far-Sight machine.’

[click to enlarge]

At the end, a passing gentleman is sent sprawling by the full thrust of a stray punch.

During the affair an amusing incident occurred.
As Mac was ushering in a superior lightning
locater with his left, a heedless visitor happened
to pass in front of the transmitter.
Curable in six weeks, with reserve.

The published version had typeset text. The version offered here is the original cartoon artwork hand drawn in ink, with manuscript ink captions on the card mount. The cartoon is in three pieces, mounted at the back with brown paper tape, into the three beveled apertures. Sullivan’s signature is meticulously lettered on the lower piece. The card mount includes another version of Sullivan’s signature. I believe that the manuscript captions and signature on the mount were also most likely both written by Sullivan at about the time of the creation of this piece, but of course it’s impossible to be certain.

In very good condition. Mild foxing and yellowing to the original cartoon. Tanning to the edges of the mount. Mount size: 372 x 527mm. A digital printout of the published version will be provided with the original.

Price: £320.00 plus postage. Contact:

With thanks to Dr. Nicholas Hiley for information about Sullivan.

1. Levant Herald, 1 September 1889.
2. This artwork, ‘Goaheadison’s Real Latest’, has been reproduced in two modern publications: the academic journal Early Popular Visual Culture, Vol. 9, Issue 1, 2011; and: A History of Early Television, Volume 1 (Routledge 2004), edited by Stephen Herbert.

‘Goaheadison’s Real Latest’, Fun, 17 July 1889, p. 24.

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Back of one panel

Three Hundred Things a Bright Boy Can Do

identifier: 2014042 THREEHUNDRED

In the late 1950s and early ’60s, I was fascinated by many projects in the ‘Things a Boy Can Do / Make’ genre of boys’ books, ancient and modern. Edwardian examples came from church jumble sales at a penny or tuppence each, more modern books – Hundreds of Things a Boy Can Make, and a host of variants – were presents. I didn’t distinguish between them, though some of the projects I attempted came unstuck due to non-availability of period materials. An early design for a model aeroplane called for a ‘whalebone from a corset’. My mum just shook her head, and I never did find a suitable substitute. Sofia on Yahoo! Answers says of whalebone for corsets: ‘I’ve read that the average pressure on a corset, even from the tiniest teenage waist, would be about 80 lb (about 40kg I think). Before, they used wood in the corsets, the whale bone must have been a better material to withstand the unbelievable forces when the corsets were tightened so much, and to make it as comfortable as possible at the same time. I read a lot about corsets and history.’) As someone who currently builds model aircraft, I have no idea what part a corset whalebone could have played in such a construction.

I remember, too, a more modern book that described how to make a raft from some scrap timber lashed to two oil drums. The author stated that he wouldn’t explain how to do the knots, as it would be more fun for each boy to discover the best method for himself. Even at the time I thought this highly irresponsible, and had a vision of the happless boy boatbuilder sailing downstream as his raft fell apart and the pieces floated away while he drowned. Which would have livened up a dull day, but there was no chance to try it out, as our local South London ‘river’ (the Graveney) wasn’t much more than a flooded ditch. Other experiments with chemicals were more successful. I was fond of the one we called Smoke From The Devil’s Fingers. You just take a saucer and a box of matches…. but I dare not give descriptions here. These were truly dangerous books for boys. Three Hundred Things… seems to have been in part the Inspiration for that modern ‘retro’ publication (The Dangerous Book for Boys, 2007), a huge seller crammed with interesting stuff, but disappointingly wimpy – the most dangerous item being ‘Making a Bow and Arrow’. The modern 211 Things a Bright Boy and Do, and 211 Things a Bright Girl Can Do (not to mention 211 Things a Clever Girl Can Do) were evidently also inspired by this book.

I’m offering here an example of the original Edwardian book, which I’m fairly sure I never did own, until recently.

Three Hundred Things a Bright Boy Can Do, by Many Hands.

(Title on cover: 300 THINGS A BRIGHT BOY CAN DO). Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., London. 1910.  [iv] + 438 pages, size 140 x 210mm.

Contents range from Paperchasing (chucking bits of scrap paper all over the countryside) to Ventriloquism and Polyphony, Pets, plus Things Boys Can Make, and a final chapter Concerning Many Things (make your own toffee, or imitate a nightingale). The Editor explains that ‘Too many youths fall into mere aimless dawdling,’ and promises that following the techniques outlined in this book ‘inculcates patience, exactitude, and perseverance’.

Rather too much sporty stuff for me, though I was rather taken with the idea of Sailing on Skates. If I’d eaten the diet listed for a champion walker, I don’t think I’d be able to get up off the sofa. The magic tricks are more appealing, especially Cremated Alive.

Examples of Three Hundred Things a Bright Boy Can Do are quite scarce. The first English edition by Sampson Low & Co., 1910, seems to be held only by the Bodleian, which considered it sufficiently iconic to feature on one of their gift cards. (There was also a 1910 edition published in Toronto by Musson, and not widely held.) Editions of 1911, 1914 and 1919 – probably reprints of the original – are also quite scarce as books (microforms abound) in institutional libraries. A later edition, c.1929 and credited to Harold Armitage, is not common.

As I write, copies of the first edition on Abe, in red/orange decorated cloth, are offered for an optimistic £525.75, and £368.01.

The example offered here, is the first edition (1910) in blue decorated cloth. Condition: Generally good, binding somewhat loose. Age stains to endpapers. Foxing to first few leaves. There is some minor staining to some pages, and small closed tears to the lower margins of several. One page has been re-attached with repair tissue. Some minor wear to the gilt on the cover, and cloth corners. Internal repair to the top of the spine cloth. Prize plate on front board interior.

Price: £95.00, plus postage.


Olympic Walking Champ, 1908

identifier: 2014051 LARNER

Larner’s Text Book on Walking. Exercise-pleasure-sport by C. E. Larner.
London: “Health & Strength”, [1909]. 185 x 125mm. Hardback, line illustrated cover, no jacket (as issued). 76 pages plus several pages of adverts. Seven pages of photos.

Rare book by 1908 Olympic walking champion George Larner. Note that Larner’s initials on cover and title page are given as “C.E.” but in fact he was “G.E.”

“… I was leading by a mile. Then I suddenly felt horribly cold and queer (it was a cold March day … one is particularly liable to cold fits on long road walks.) I got another sweater from an attendant and pulled it on, had a banana or so and an apple, drank a little champagne, and gradually began to come round. I had kept on walking all the time, but naturally at a very poor pace….”

See if you can spot Larner in the winners’ line-up at the Olympics Games in London 1908; last few seconds of the British Pathe coverage here:


This from Wikipedia:

George Edward Larner (7 February 1875 – 4 March 1949) was an English athlete who competed mainly in the 10 mile walk. He was a multi-time Amateur Athletic Association of England champion, and won two gold medals at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.
Larner was a Brighton policeman, and took up athletics at the age of 28 in 1903. In 1904 he won the Amateur Athletic Association of England (AAA) titles for the two and seven mile track walk. He went on to retain these titles in the following year. He found training conflicted with his job, but was granted an extended leave period by the Police Force. In 1906, he took a two-year break from athletics to train for the upcoming 1908 Summer Olympics held in London. After returning, he was disqualified in his first race in April 1908, at the AAA event in walking over seven miles, but the following July he won the two mile title.

He competed for Great Britain in the 1908 Summer Games in the 3500 metre walk on 14 July 1908, winning the race ahead of fellow Briton Ernest Webb, who took silver, and New Zealander Harry Kerr. Webb had initially taken the lead, but Larner caught up during the second lap and went on to win the race by over twelve seconds. Afterwards he matched this with another gold medal in the 10 mile walk, this time in a British clean sweep, with Webb again winning silver and Edward Spencer winning bronze. Both he and Webb were inside the world record time, with Larner setting world records for both the 9 mile and the 10 mile distances. His final time was 1 hour, 15 minutes and 57.4 seconds. He was one of ten competitors to win more than a single gold medal at the 1908 Games.
In 1909 he wrote [this] book entitled Larner’s Text Book on Walking: Exercise, Pleasure, Sport. His final AAA success came in 1911, when he won the 7 mile race once more.
Larner broke the world record in walking in all distances between two miles and ten miles, and the longest distance in one hour, which he set at 13,275 metres (8.249 mi). The record he set for the 2 mile on 14 July 1904 stood for the following 39 years.
The 1908 Summer Games was the only time that either the men’s 10 mile walk or the 3500 metre walk took place. This technically means that Larner remains the reigning Olympic champion in both events, and the Olympic record holder. He is one of only a handful of British athletes to have won more than a single gold medal at any one Olympic Games, with only Charlotte Cooper having achieved it at an earlier Olympics, and Henry Taylor winning three medals at the 1908 Games.
Larner’s name has been carried on the front of a Scania Omnidekka bus in the fleet of Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company since October 2007.

Some browning of page edges, covers very slightly bowed, otherwise very good.

No copy on ABE, Amazon, etc. at time of writing. Only 6 copies in WorldCat.

Price: £65.00 plus postage. Contact: