The Dream of Flying

Page 18




  The First Montgolfier Hot-air Balloon - 4th of June, 1783  

Joseph Montgolfier had made experiments with small indoor balloons in a successful way. He showed his progress for his brother Étienne. Together they built a larger balloon, filled it with smoke and saw how it rose to 20 m height and slowly sank to the ground again when the smoke cooled.

Through early 1783 the brothers experimented with different combinations of cloth and paper, built larger balloons and saw how their creations could rise higher and higher. In June they built the largest one ever. The material was paper liner inside a strong linen skin. It had a volume of 200 m3 and measured over 30 m in circumference. They invited the inhabitants of their home town Annonay to join the ascent of the balloon on the 5th on June from a field near the town.

The event became a success. The balloon rose to 2000 m and sailed elegantly through the air for 10 minutes. After that it landed about 2 km from the starting point.


Étienne and Joseph Montgolfier


  Historical reconstitution of the take off of the first hot air balloon organised by the Hot air balloon club of Annonay. Brissac-Quincé (France), 2009-08-29  


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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-01-08