Aviation in 1783
The Montgolfier brothers,
born in Annonay, France, were the inventors of the first practical
balloon. The first demonstrated flight of a hot air balloon took place
on June 4, 1783, in Annonay, France.
Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, paper
mill owners, were trying to float bags made of paper and fabric. When
the brothers held a flame near the opening at the bottom, the bag
(called a balon) expanded with hot air and floated upward. The
Montgolfier brothers built a larger paper-lined silk balloon and
demonstrated it on June 4, 1783, in the marketplace at Annonay. Their
balloon (called a Montgolfiere) lifted 6,562 feet into the air.
On September 19, 1783, in Versailles,
a Montgolfiere hot air balloon carrying a sheep, a rooster, and a duck
flew for eight minutes in front of Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and
the French court.
First Manned Flight
On October 15, 1783, Pilatre de Rozier
and Marquis d'Arlandes were the first human passengers on a
Montgolfiere balloon. The balloon was in free flight, meaning it was
On January 19, 1784, a huge
Montgolfiere hot air balloon carried seven passengers to a height of
3,000 feet over the city of Lyons.
At the time, the Montgolfiers believed
they had discovered a new gas (they called Montgolfier gas) that was
lighter than air and caused the inflated balloons to rise. In fact,
the gas was merely air, which became more buoyant as it was heated.