History of Aviation

Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier

Joseph Michel Montgolfier (1740-1810) and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier (1745-1799) were the sons of a paper manufacturer in Annonay, France. The two brothers became interested in science and in 1782 they constructed an air balloon that was lifted by lighting a cauldron of paper beneath it, and therefore heating and rarifying the air it contained. On 4th June, 1782, this hot air balloon reached a height of about 6,560 feet (2,000 m).

The brothers now moved to Paris and on 19th September, 1782, their balloon carried a sheep, a goose and a rooster. The following year the Montgolfier brothers managed to persuade Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes to became the first people to take part in a manned balloon flight. In November, 1783, the two men travelled 7 miles (12.1 km) in less than half an hour at the height of 3,000 feet (915 m).

The outbreak of the French Revolution brought these experiments to an end. In later life Joseph Montgolfier developed an early parachute, a calorimeter and a hydraulic ram.

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