JF Ptak Science Books
Here are two examples of Things That Almost Were But Weren't: Photography (1839) and Television (1928). The first item contains a woodcut of a heliotype (being the first image of a photograph produced by non-photographic means); the second displays the method for receiving images of radio shows but is not a television.
First: The first published non-photographic image of a non-photograph or "sunpicture") from a collection of papers on the basics of photography, published early in the birth-year of photography, 1839.
here. The process here is the 'sun picture", and while not exactly considered a photograph per se, it is a photographic process, making this the first image of a non-photographic photograph. It predates the first mass-published photograph by four years and the first (entirely) photographically illustrated book (The Pencil of Nature) by six years. The sun picture, or heliotype, was first described in print in 1801 by both Thomas Wedgewood and Humphrey Davy, and although the process was at least 39 years old at this time there are no recorded published images produced by that process. (The woodcut is much larger than usual for The Mirrour, and is also of a unique brown/red color, and of a different hue than any other woodcut that we have seen in any of the issues of the first 45 years of this publication. I was concerned at one time that this image was a photographic process of some sort, but it isn't, and I'm convinced that it is a woodcut--a very unusual species of woodcut for this publication, but a woodcut nevertheless.)
Golding Bird's (1814-1854) "A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing", published in The Mirrour, London, 1839, contains five1 significant and extremely early papers on the photographic process (appearing in The Mirrour numbers 945, 946, 947, 949 & 950, April 20-May 25, 1839). [A much larger, more detailed image is available here; I didn't want to lay the book flat on the scanner to get a more detailed image of the copy here at hand.]