First Public Demonstration of a Montgolfier Balloon, 4th June, 1783.

1783; 1914 in France, Annonay and Lyons
Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier
Papault and Rouelle

Model of a Montgolfier Balloon, 1783. The two brothers Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier gave their first public demonstration of a model hot air balloon in Annonay, France. About 36 feet in diameter, and made of linen and paper, it rose to a height of 6,000 feet and floated for ten minutes, travelling a distance of over one mile. That year, the Montgolfiers built a balloon that carried the first living passengers aloft, and in November a balloon that carried the first human passengers.

This is a model of the hot-air balloon in which Pilatre de Rozier, science teacher, and Francois Laurent, the Marquis d'Arlandes, an infantry officer, made the first human flight in history. They took off from the Bois de Boulogne on 21 November 1783. The envelope consisted of cotton and paper coated in alum as a form of fire proofing. Cords sewn into the fabric carried a wicker gallery at the base. The aeronauts stood on opposite sides of the gallery to balance it and maintained lift by

pitchforking straw through two openings into a brazier mounted in the neck of the balloon. Each had a sponge and a bucket of water to put out fires in the envelope. Soon the Marquis noticed that the balloon envelope had burned through in several places. He called out to descend but Rozier pointed out that they were above the rooftops of Paris. They put out the fires in the envelope and tested the overheated suspension cords. Only two had broken so they put more straw into the brazier and rose again. They cleared Paris and after twenty-five minutes of this most dangerous journey landed in parkland near the present-day Place d'ltalie.


Object Number:
papier-mâché, metal (unknown) and paint
estimate: 77 kg
balloons and hot-air balloons
Papault and Rouelle