Emanuel Swedenborg's Flying Machine

In 1714, when Emanuel Swedenborg was 26 years old, he was first sketched his Flying Machine. It was later published in 1716, in his periodical, Daedalus Hyperboreus. Swedenborg experienced many different dreams and visions, some greatly pleasurable, others highly disturbing. Swedenborg's flying machine was not widely known until his notebook containing the sketch was discovered in 1867-1868 at the Diocesan Library at Linköping, Sweden by a visiting researcher from the United States of America. It dates from 1714 and is referred to as "The Manuscript": the published description is referred to as "The Published Account".

The flying machine was a background of the airplane and started a very advanced idea. His "Machine For Flying" was a remarkable aeronautical design for its time, featuring wheeled landing gear, a concave lifting surface (curved in both length and width), a central location for the operator and beating blades for propulsion. There is even an indication that a means of control was sought, through the manipulation of the propulsive blades.

Swedenborg knew that the machine would not fly, but suggested it as a start and was confident that the problem would be solved. He said, "It seems easier to talk of such a machine than to put it into actuality, for it requires greater force and less weight than exists in a human body. The science of mechanics might perhaps suggest a means, namely, a strong spiral spring. If these advantages and requisites are observed, perhaps in time to come some one might know how better to utilize our sketch and cause some addition to be made so as to accomplish that which we can only suggest. Yet there are sufficient proofs and examples from nature that such flights can take place without danger, although when the first trials are made you may have to pay for the experience, and not mind an arm or leg." This greater force would not become possible until the motor was invented.



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