PAUCTON, [Alexis Jean-Pierre].

Théorie de la Vis d’Archimede, de laquelle on déduit celle des moulins conçus d’une nouvelle maniere. On y joint la construction d’un nouveau lock ou sillometre, & celle d’une sorte de rames très-commodes, &c…

A Paris: Chez Butard… Desventes de la Doué… La Garde…1768

Small 8vo, pp. (xii), xx, 214, (10), and 7 folding engraved plates. Half-title. Two leaves of the preface torn across and neatly repaired with a few lost letters carefully inked in, otherwise a nice copy. Slightly later green boards, unlettered, yellow edges, contained in a fine solander box by Ateliers Laurenchet, morocco spine decorated and lettered in gilt.

FIRST EDITION. The first suggestion of the screw propeller and design for a helicopter. In this technical work on the Archimedes screw the mathematician Alexis Jean-Pierre Paucton (1732–1798) proposed for the first time the screw as a method of propelling ships, although it would be another seventy years before the first steam ship driven by a screw propeller, the SS Archimedes, was built. In a section entitled “Du Ptérophore ou nouveau volant” (pp. 181–214) Paucton investigates the aerodynamic possibilities of the screw and describes the principle of the helicopter. Paucton’s work was carefully studied by later aviation theorists. Tissandier, Bibliographie aéronautique, p. 9: “Ce mémoire renferme une curieuse description d’un hélicoptère destiné à élever un homme.” This copy was no. 207 in the L’Art Ancien catalogue ‘Flight’ (c. 1978).


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