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
First Passengers 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 not
tethered. On January 19, 1784, a huge Montgolfiere hot air balloon
carried seven passengers to a height of 3,000 feet over the city of
Not until 1960 did modern hot-air ballooning as we know it
begin its introduction onto the American scene. From 1960 until today,
ballooning has introduced millions of “lighter-than-air enthusiasts” to
the magic and mystery of these gentle giants. Hundreds of safety
innovations have taken place insuring all on board a fun-filled, safe
and awe-inspiring adventure.
Hydrogen Balloons Frenchman, Jacques Charles invented
the first hydrogen balloon in 1783.
Less than two weeks after the
ground-breaking Montgolfier flight, the French physicist Jacques Charles
(1746-1823) and Nicolas Robert (1758-1820) made the first untethered
ascension with a gas hydrogen balloon on December 1, 1783. Jacques
Charles combined his expertise in making hydrogen with Nicolas Robert's
new method of coating silk with
Charlière Hydrogen Balloon The Charlière
hydrogen balloon exceeded the earlier Montgolfier hot air balloon in
time in the air and distance traveled. With its wicker gondola, netting,
and valve-and-ballast system, it became the definitive form of the
hydrogen balloon for the next 200 years. The audience in the Tuileries
Gardens was reported as 400,000, half the population of Paris.
The limitation of using hot air was balloons that when the air in
the balloon cooled, the balloon was forced to descend. If a fire was
kept burning to warm the air constantly, sparks were likely to reach the
bag and set it afire. Hydrogen overcame this obstacle.