The Wings of Le Besnier

The Wings of Le Besnier

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The history of attempts to design and construct a successful man-powered flying machine (ornithopter) includes Leonardo da Vinci and Roger Bacon. This apparatus built by Besnier, a locksmith from Sablé in France was reported in the Journal des Savants of 1678 which gives a full description of its design and operation and how Besnier graduated from launching himself from stools, tables, windows and eventually garrets, from whence he managed to land safely after flying over rooftops. The Journal concludes that Besnier, after some success, sold the wings to a fairground performer.

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Keywords: besnier, france, history of science, journal des savants, le besnier, leonardo da vinci, man-powered flight, ornithopter, roger bacon

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