1783 – The Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon makes the first human ascent
The Montgolfier brothers Joseph-Michel (born 26 August 1740) and Jacques-Étienne (born 6 January 1745) were born into a family of paper manufacturers founded in 1534.
It was Joseph who was first interested in aeronautics; as early as 1775 he built parachutes, and once jumped from the family house. He first contemplated building baloons when he observed laundry drying over a fire incidentally form pockets that billowed upwards.
In collaboration with the wallpaper manufacturer Jean-Baptiste Réveillon, Étienne constructed a 37,500-cubic-foot (1,060 m3) envelope of taffeta coated with a varnish of alum for fireproofing.
The balloon was about 23 m (75 feet) tall and about 15 m (50 feet) in diameter, sky blue and decorated with golden flourishes, signs of the zodiac, and suns.
In September 1783, the Aérostat Réveillon was flown with the first living beings in a basket attached to the balloon: a sheep called Montauciel, a duck and a rooster. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology.
Since the animals survived, the king allowed flights with humans. Étienne Montgolfier was the first human to lift off the Earth, making a tethered test flight from the yard of the Réveillon workshop in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine on 15th October 1783.
Extra Note: He believed that the smoke itself was the buoyant part and contained within it a special gas, which he called “Montgolfier Gas”.
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