Louis Pierre Mouillard was an inspiration to many who engaged in aerial pursuits in the last part of the 19th Century. His most well-known book, "L'Empire de L'Air", was published in France in 1881 and soon became a widely recognized classic. It was reprinted by the Smithsonian Institution in English in 1893 as "The Empire Of The Air." His observations and appreciation of bird flight as a guide to human flight was nothing short of poetic. However, Mouillard was not simply a natural philosopher, he also built and tested large gliders with some success. Assisted by a gusting wind Mouillard made a glide of 138 feet in 1865, an enviable accomplishment. He also carried on a correspondence with Octave Chanute and made a number of interesting observations. Regarding aluminum Mouillard observed "It is the metal for aviation" (July 21, 1891). Later he stated that he had "...the facility of vision, the rocket is always the engine, the propellant" (March 10, 1894). Mouillard was a visionary who also built and tested experimental devices of his own design. His work and perspective inspired many in the pre-Wright period. Despite his lack of significant practical success, Mouillard was and is held in high regard as one of the most thoughtful and insightful aerial investigators of his time.
"L'Empire de L'Air" inspired J. B. Biot, among many others, to pursue gliding and soaring flight along the lines set forth by Mouillard. The influence of Mouillard's treatise was very powerful, although it seems his profound effect on aerial research has been largely forgotten, as have many other signifcant and highly influential philosopher-scientist-experimenters of the period.