Patent GB-1868-392

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Improvements in Propulsion and in Aerial Locomotion, and in Apparatus connected therewith, Parts of which are applicable to Projectiles and to Boilers by Matthew Piers Watt Boulton.

Suggests detailed schemes for jet-propelled aircraft including a heavier-than-air vessel moving on its own power. Air current could be generated by combustion, through a chemical reaction, or through production of hot air in a boiler. Describes a stabilizer now known as the aileron.

A jet of air issuing from a trumpet-shaped tube, to propel an aerial vessel, which could be an LTA/aerostat type craft, or a projectile, or an airplane moving on its on power:

It may also be employed to propel an inclined plane or surface, by the motion of which through the air upward pressure is produced and the vessel supported in the manner which is well understood and has often been described. Upward support may also be obtained by causing a current or currents produced by jets or by motive power of other kinds generated in the propelled body to impinge on a suitable inclined plane or surface or on several such surfaces suitably disposed. [...] The surface or surfaces may also be acted on by the wind producing propulsive effect, as in the case of birds. I prefer to give a curved form to the surface thus acted on, to that the fluid shall impinge upon it without shock, and be continually deflected while passing in contact with it. A curved surface may be acted on by a current or currents, so that both the actions previously described may be exerted on it simultaneously, that is to say, an upward pressure producing support and a propulsive action propelling in the direction required. The inclination and position of the surfaces may be altered so as to vary the amount and direction of the pressure, and thus to change the course or balance of the vessel. (pp. 3–4)


For the safety of aerial vessels it is important to provide a controlling power not only to direct their horizontal and vertical course, but also to prevent their turning over by rotating on the longitudinal axis. A certain stability of the kind desired is afforded by using an extended surface whose sides make an angle from the axis upwards as has previously been described by others. But it is desirable to provide a more powerful action preventing rotation of the body in this direction. For this purpose a rudder of the following construction may be adopted:—Vanes or moveable surfaces are attached to arms projecting them from the vessel laterally or at right angles to its length. When these vanes are not required to act they present their edges to the front, so as to offer little resistance to the vessel's movement, but if the vessel should begin to rotate on the longitudinal axis the vanes are moved so as to take inclined positions, those on the ascending side of the vessel being caused to rotate to such an inclination that the air impinging upon them exerts a pressure downwards, while those on the descending side are so inclined that the air impinging upon them exerts a pressure upwards, thus the balance of the vessel is redressed and its further rotation prevented. The vanes may be moved by hand or by self-acting mechanism; for this purpose a weight or heavy body is connected to the vessel which carries the vanes so that the vessel may rotate on the longitudinal axis without imparting such rotation to the weight or heavy body. When rotation of the vessel in the direction described begins the relative positions of the vessel and the heavy body change, and consequently by means of cords or other suitable connections between the heavy body and the vanes the required movement can be communicated to the vanes. (p. 16)

Was it filed in Germany too?

Econterms thinks not, but Lilienthal Museum's record on this invention has a version that might refer to a German one, but probably refers to the English one. This below was probably written by Seifert of the Lilienthal Musem:[1]

"For the safety of aircraft, it is important to not only have a control system for the vertical and lateral control, but also a device which prevents the turning and rolling around the longitudinal axis . . . For this purpose, a rowing following construction can be used: or movable wing surfaces are attached to the arms, which can be changed from the trunk of their employment. If this rudders are not needed, offer their end faces of the movement of the aircraft, but little resistance. But when the ship starts to roll around the longitudinal axis, the rudder will be so employed, that the up side ... pressed down, the downward side is up but is pushed by the wind pressure on the rudder. Thus the balance of the aircraft and restored if another rolling is reduced. The rudder can be operated by hand or by machines." Boulton suggested therefore not only provide a mechanism for automatic control of the cross, but was thinking of expanding into vertical and lateral control, i.e. to an automatic pilot.
The patent there is characterized as having the title "Querruder für Flugapparat" which means "Aileron for flying machine"


Year filed
Year granted 1868
Office GB
Patent number 392
Inventors Matthew Piers Watt Boulton
Inventor country GB
Applicant person
Applicant firm
Applicant type
Applicant is inventor? 1
Original title Improvements in Propulsion and in Aerial Locomotion, and in Apparatus connected therewith, Parts of which are applicable to Projectiles and to Boilers
English title Improvements in Propulsion and in Aerial Locomotion, and in Apparatus connected therewith, Parts of which are applicable to Projectiles and to Boilers
Tech fields propulsion, jet, stability, rudder, aileron, airfoil, LTA, airplane, projectile
Filing date
Full specification filed date
Application number
Grant date 1868-2-5
Granted? 1
Publication date
Supplementary to patent
Related to aircraft? Yes
Serial number
Patent agent
Assigned to
National tech categories
Family year 1868
First filing?
Cites these patents
Citations from after 1930
Application ID
Number of text pages 20
Number of diagram pages 2
Number of figures 7
Number of claims