Flight: Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier
Jacques Montgolfier, French brothers, were
pioneer developers of the hot-air balloon and who conducted the first untethered
flights. Modifications and improvements of the basic Montgolfier design
were incorporated in the construction of larger balloons that, in later
years, opened the way to exploration of the upper atmosphere.
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Étienne were 2 of the 16 children of
Pierre Montgolfier, whose prosperous paper factories in the small town of
Vidalon, near Annonay, in southern France, ensured the financial support of their
balloon experiments. While carrying on their father's paper business, they
maintained their interest in scientific experimentation. In 1782 they
discovered that heated air, when collected inside a large lightweight paper
or fabric bag, caused the bag to rise into the air.
26, 1740 – June 26, 1810) und Jacques-Etienne
Montgolfier (January 6, 1745 – Aug. 2, 1799)
The Montgolfiers made the first public demonstration of this
discovery on June 4, 1783, at the marketplace in Annonay. They filled
their balloon with heated air by burning straw and wool under the opening
at the bottom of the bag. The balloon rose into the air about 3,000 feet
(1,000 metres), remained there some 10 minutes, and then settled to the
ground more than a mile and a half from where it rose.
The Montgolfiers travelled to Paris and then to Versailles, where they repeated the experiment with a
larger balloon on Sept. 19, 1783, sending a sheep, a rooster, and a duck aloft
as passengers. The balloon floated for about 8 minutes and landed safely
about 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) from the launch site.
On Nov. 21, 1783, the first manned untethered flight took place
in a Montgolfier balloon with Pilatre de Rozier and François Laurent,
marquis d'Arlandes, as passengers. The balloon sailed over Paris for 5.5 miles (9 kilometres) in about 25
The two brothers were honoured by the French Académie des Sciences.
They published books on aeronautics and continued their scientific careers.
Joseph invented a calorimeter and the hydraulic ram, and Étienne developed
a process for manufacturing vellum.
Nov. 21, 1783: Montgolfier balloon with Pilatre
de Rozier and François Laurent, marquis d'Arlandes, as passenger