Eduard Spelterini and the Spectacle of Images

Eduard Spelterini and the Spectacle of Images

The Colored Slides of the Pioneer Balloonist

This volume presents the never-before-published colored images of famed balloonist Eduard Spelterini.



Title Information

Edited by Hilar Stadler. Essays by Hilar Stadler, Jürgen Bleibler, and Anton Holzer

1st edition

, 2010

Text English and German


152 pages, 87 color and 17 b/w illustrations

22.5 x 28 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-303-9

In cooperation with Museum im Bellpark, Kriens, and Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen


Swiss balloonist Eduard Spelterini (1852–1931) lived an extraordinary life. Born the son of an innkeeper and beer brewer in a remote village in the Toggenburg area of Switzerland, Spelterini achieved international fame when he became the first aeronaut to fly over the Swiss Alps in 1898. Over the next two decades, Spelterini navigated his balloon through the skies of Europe, Africa, and Asia, and over such sites as the Great Pyramid of Giza and the gold mines of South Africa.

Due to the spiraling hyperinflation that occurred in the years following World War I, and the increase in the popularity of airplanes during the 1920s, Spelterini lost his balloon business and spent his remaining years in poverty in a remote village in Austria. But Spelterini remains an important figure to this day because of his achievements in aerial photography. Seeking images to illustrate his lectures, he began taking a camera along with him on his expeditions in 1893, and his breathtaking photographs quickly became the talk of Europe.

A complementary volume to Eduard Spelterini—Photographs of a Pioneer Balloonist, this book presents a selection of around eighty of Spelterini’s never-before-published colored slides, offering readers an altogether new look at the spectacular work of this pioneer of photography and aviation. Accompanying essays by Hilar Stadler, Jürgen Bleibler, and Anton Holzer, situate the slides in their historical context.

The book was published to coincide with an exhibition at the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen.

Authors & Editors

Jürgen Bleibler

Anton Holzer

Hilar Stadler