The Waxflatter Ornithopter was a human powered flying machine, developed by retired schoolmaster Rupert T. Waxflatter in his rooms at Brompton school.



Young Sherlock Holmes clip - The Adventure of a Lifetime

Young Sherlock Holmes clip - The Adventure of a Lifetime

Holmes and Watson using the Ornithopter[2]

Convinced that mankind would conquer the skies, Waxflatter built himself a human powered flying machine, which he proceeded to test on six occasions before his murder in 1870. After investigating Waxflatter's death, Brompton students Sherlock Holmes and John Watson used the Ornithopter in an attempt to rescue Waxflatter's niece, Elizabeth Hardy, from the clutches of the Ramatep, a fanatical group of religious followers of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead, who were seeking revenge for Waxflatter's involvement in the destruction of an Egyptian village many years earlier. Although the flight was successful, due to it lasting longer than all of Waxflatter's previous attempts combined, the Ornithopter was destroyed on landing, when it fell through the ice covering the Thames.[3]

Real WorldEdit

The Ornithopter prop was built by Elstree Film Studios and Bianchi Film Aviation Services for the Steven Spielberg film production Young Sherlock Holmes in 1985. On 5 September 2013, The Ornithopter was auctioned by Christies for £55,875 at the Out of the Ordinary Sale.[4]


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  2. YouTube
  3. IMDB entry tt0090357
  4. Christies