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  • “Aviation” by W.D. & H.O. Wills – Complete set of Cigarette Cards – 1910

    “Aviation” by W.D. & H.O. Wills – Complete set of Cigarette Cards – 1910

    Maybe our favourite set of cigarette cards. A complete set of 50 cards of the first “Aviation” set issued by W.D. & H.O. Wills of Bristol and London in January 1910.

    Very good condition, now protected in standard card wallets.

    The timing of the cards makes them a remarkable historical piece. The first 25 cards are described as “Airships – Lighter than Air” and cards 26-50 “Aeroplanes – Heavier than Air).

    In balloons and dirigibles we start with the middle ages concept of Francesco de Lana and then the first serious balloon ascent by Mongolfier in 1783. A year later the first English balloon took off designed by an Italian. The English Channel was crossed the following year (1785) by Blanchard and Jeffries. Then after the first parachutes the era of the dirigibles from 1852 … rounding the Eiffel Tower, the adaption for war purposes through many amazing designs to the enormous German Zeppelin.

    In aeroplanes from early concepts through to Henson’s ideas, the Lillenthal Glider, concepts by Maxim (of machine gun fame) and eventually “off the ground” with Wilbur and Orville Wright … from rails not wheels. The fascinating designs took off at pace with numerous mono and biplane designs and the unique Helicopter by Rickman.

    The last card honours the first lady aviator … Madame the Baronesse Delaroche.

    Complete set of Wills first Aviation cards – 1910



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  • Charles Darwin – The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Earthworms – Published John Murray 1892

    Published London 1892 by John Murray. Original deep green cloth covered boards, with single line blind impressed border, title gilt in gilt decoration on spine. Original end papers dark brown gloss. 328 pages Illustrated with tables and black and white drawings.

    Darwin’s last published work. This volume looks at the life and activity of the earthworm, and the share they have taken in the formation of the layer of vegetable mould which covers the whole surface in every moderately humid country. It is a summary of the part which worms have played in the history of the world. Their aid in the disintegration of rocks, the denudation of the land, the preservation of ancient remains, and the preparation of the soil for the growth of plants. A fascinating look at one of the lowliest but highly organised creatures of the world by the legendary Victorian Naturalist.

    Carries the bookplate of William Walter Richmond Powell with the charming Latin motto Anima in Amicus Una “One Mind Among Friends”. Also a manuscript letter from Robert Powell returning the book .. clearly a scientist of sorts, he references various experiments by Darwin which feature in the book and has some alternative viewpoints … Powell was at one time Sheriff of Canterbury in England a rather distinguished office.

    Darwin his final thoughts down in the soil getting his hands dirty.



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