Airopaidia (1786) — the Narrative of a Balloon Excursion

Thomas Baldwin's Airopaidia (1786) is a remarkable insight into the early days of ballooning. Coming in at almost 400 pages the book is a wonderfully detailed account of Baldwin's one day in the air over Chester in 1785. Uniquely in this period, Baldwin attempts to describe his experience not only verbally but using images: three expensively produced plates depicting the view from the balloon, the balloon in the view, and the charted passage of the balloon over the landscape (see images below). Together these illustrative plates can be seen as the first ever "real" overhead aerial views.