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    Robertson [Étienne-Gaspard Robert]. La Minerve, Vaisseau Aërien Destiné aux Découvertes, et Proposé à Toutes les Académies de l'Europe. Paris: Hocquet, 1820.

    Stated second edition. Twelvemo. iv. 36 pages.

    Contemporary half calf over cloth. Raised bands. Title labels to spine with gilt lettering. Top edge gilt. Marbled endpapers. Title vignette. Engraved illustrations. Two folding plates. Very good.

    Étienne-Gaspard Robert (aka Robertson) was a Belgian stage magician, physics lecturer, and balloon enthusiast. Included are images of personal flying machines and balloons, but of greatest interest is the detailed engraved depiction of La Minerve, a massive balloon proposed for travel and scientific enquiry. The balloon would contain laboratories, sleeping quarters, a gymnasium, a music room, and even a smaller balloon which would act as a sort of ship's dinghy. In light of the author's tendency towards playful hucksterism, and the lack of any evidence of known copies of the purported first Viennese edition of 1804, it seems likely that this is, indeed, the first and only edition of this work. An exceedingly scarce item by this intriguing nineteenth century showman and balloonist.

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