Important Events in Balloon History


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Page LF-003 (Revised 01/22/2006)

Year Month/Day Person Balloon Event
  1400      Roger Bacon   Suggested a plan of flotation of a large hollow sphere of very thin copper, to be filled with "etherial or liquid fire." Believed air to have a definite consistency and capable of sustentation like water. No definite record of actual experimentation.
  1670      Francesco Lana   Suggested four copper balls of thin walls, and entirely exhausted of air. Balls each to be 20 feet in diameter, and so thin that each weighed less than an equal bulk of atmosphere. Fallacy consisted in the physical condition that the walls would be too thin to withstand atmospheric pressure. The construction may be regarded as the prototype of the modern balloon.
  1709   Aug 8   Bartholomeo-Lourenco de Gusmao   Causes what is probably a hot-air balloon or a gas balloon to rise to ceiling of the Palace of Indies in Lisbon, Portugal.
  1767      Dr. Black   Of Edinburgh suggested the use of hydrogen with a thin bladder bag.
  1782   Jun 20   Tiberius Cavallo   Presents a note to Royal Society describing successful experiments with hydrogen-inflated soap bubbles.
  1782   Nov   Stephen & Joseph Montgolfier   Used a hot-air balloon to lift a load.
  1783   Jun 5   Joseph Montgolfier & his brother   At Annonay, France, a balloon of 35 feet diameter, filled with hot. air, is sent up attaining a height of more than one mile.
  1783   Jun 26   Charles   At Paris, France, a hydrogen balloon is sent by this scientist.
  1783   Aug 30   Charles   Sent up a 12-foot diameter balloon, made of oiled silk and filled with hydrogen, on the Champ de Mars, Passy.
  1783   Sep 19   J. Montgolfier   Hot air balloon is sent up with sheep, rooster and duck, all landing uninjured.
  1783   Nov 21   Pilatre de Rozier & Marquis d'Arlandes   At La Muette palace, near Paris, hot-air balloon rises with both men and descends safely in 20 minutes.
  1783   Dec 1   Charles and Roberts   Hydrogen balloon covers three miles in two hours, leaving the Tuileries and landing near Nesle, France.
  1783   Dec 26   Sebastien Lenormand   Descends by parachute from the Tower of the Montpelier Observatory.
  1784   Jan 19      At Lyons, seven passengers ascend in La Flaselle hot-air balloon, the largest of its type ever constructed 100 x 130 feet.
  1784   Mar 2   Blanchard   Tried to steer with aerial oars.
  1784   Aug 27   Tytler   Made the first ascent in England, using a cloth bag covered with varnish.
  1784   Sep 19   Roberts Brothers   Use fish-shaped balloon, oars and rudder, and changed course 22 degrees in calm air. French experiment.
  1784   Dec 17   Roberts and Charles   Took up a hydrogen balloon of over 10,000 cubic feet.
  1784   Dec 17   General Meusnier   Introduced the principle of ballonnet, in a balloon equipped with hand-worked propellers. Propelling scheme anticipated by the Roberts Brothers.
  1784   Dec 17   Lunardi   Made the first flight over London.
  1785   Jan 7   Jeffreys and Blanchard   Cross the channel from Dover, landing in the Province of Artois.
  1812      Leppig   Uses a fish-shaped balloon, with free propellers. Unsuccessful. Russian experiment.
  1834      Count de Lennox   Attempted a ballon flight in a cylindrical balloon 130 feet long, and fitted with twenty oar propellers. French experiment.
  1836   Nov 7   Messrs. Robert Holland, Charles Green, & Monck Mason   Sail in a coal gas balloon in eighteen hours from London to Weilburg, Nassau, a distance of 500 miles.
  1848      Hugh Bell   Used screw propellers on a cylindrical balloon, 65 feet long. English experiment.
  1852   Sep 23   Henry Gifford   Makes a voyage with a dirigible from Paris to Trappes and back, with rudder and steam motor. Balloon was spindle shaped, 130 feet long; motor developed 3 horse power. In still air, had speed of 4 mph; winged propellers used. French experiment.
  1853   Oct 4   Felix Tournachan   Flies the "Geant," a free type balloon of 215,000 cubic feet from Champ de Mars to Meaux, carrying fifteen people. Bag equipped with compensating ballonnet, suggested by ML Godard.
  1859   Jun 23   John Wise   Sails from St. Louis, MO to Henderson, NY, distance of 809 miles.
  1862   Sep 5   (James) Glaisher and Coxwell   Ascend 37,000 feet, according to Mr. Glaisher's reckoning. They are credited with about six miles, starting from Wolverhampton, England.
  1869      Henry Gifford   Made two ascensions in a captive balloon of 460,000 cubic feet capacity, from Habburnham Park.
  1870      De Lome   Flew in a spindle-shaped balloon 110 feet long, using screw propellers and sail-like rudder. Apparatus was operable. French experiment.
  1872      Haenlein   Attained successful flight with a cylindrical balloon 165 feet long, using a cylinder gas engine of 2.8 horse power. Austrian experiment.
  1883      Tissandier Brothers   Successfully drive a spindle-shaped balloon 90 feet long, using a Siemens electric motor. French experiment.
  1884   Aug 9   Captain Charles Renard   His "La France," dirigible, with 9 HP motor, makes successful flight, showing complete control. In seven trials, in the course of two years, it returned to its point of departure five times out of seven. Speed, 14.5 mph. Had the ballonnet of Meusner; used the suspension system of De Lome, and the electric equipment of Tissandier Brothers. Bag was 160 feet long; propeller placed at front; carriage to balance weight of rudder at rear end. French experiment.
  1886      Woelfert   Flies with a cigar-shaped balloon, 91 feet long; equipped with a Daimler motor and a two-bladed aluminum propeller. German experiment.
  1893      Schwartz   Suggested the use of an aluminum structure. Russian experiment.
  1895      Schwartz   Operating in Germany, built an aluminum airship, 150 feet long fitted with a 12 HP Daimler motor.
  1897   Jul 11   Andree   Made an attempt to reach the North Pole, accompanied by Frankel, Svedenborg and Strindberg.
  1898      Zeppelin   Built a cigar-shaped rigid airship, 418 feet long, fitted with two 16 HP motors. German experiment.
  1900   Jul 2   Zeppelin   In Zeppelin I makes first flight from Lake Constance.
  1900   Oct   De la Vaulx   Makes flight from Vincennes, France, to Korostcheff, Russia, a distance of 1,193 miles, in 36 3/4 hours. (Largest balloon flight recorded to 1911).
  1900      Roze   Suggests the use of a double airship.
  1901   Jul 31   Prof. Berson and Dr. Suring   Ascend from Berlin to an altitude of 35,425 feet in the hydrogen balloon "Preussen," 300,000 cubic feet.
  1901   Oct 19   Santos Dumont   Sailed from St. Cloud around the Eiffel Tower, and returned within half an hour. Won the "Deutsch Prize." Balloon was 108 feet long, 20 feet diameter and fitted with a gasoline motor of 18-20 HP, Velocity 19 miles per hour. French experiment.
  1902      Lebaudy Brothers   Launch non-rigid dirigible "Jaune," attaining a speed of 26 mph Length, 180 feet, diameter, 32 feet; filled with 80,600 cubic feet hydrogen; fitted with a 40 HP Daimler motor, operating twin propellers. Ballonnets used.
  1904         The "Lebaudy" accepted by French War Department. Same type as the "Jaune."
  1906      Julliot   Designed and built the "Patrie." General cigar-shaped form of Renard used. Length was 197 feet, diameter, 33 feet. Fitted with horizontal and vertical stabilizing planes at stern of bag; also a directive rudder at rear of framework. Volume 128,900 cubic feet. Car had exceptionally long suspension, from an elliptical frame-work of steel tubes.
  1907   Oct 12   HE Gaudron, JL Launer and CC Turner   Attempted to break world's record for distance (1,193 miles, held by Count de la Vaulx). Balloon ascended from Crystal Palace, crossed the North Sea, from Yarmouth to north coast of Denmark, a sea-distance of 360 miles. This is largest over-sea voyage made to time of flight. Journey ultimately terminated at shore of Lake Wener in Sweden. Total distance 702 miles.
  1907   Nov 23      The "Patrie" sailed from Chalais to Verdun, 1.87 miles, in 6 hours and 45 minutes, against a light wind.
  1908   Nov   AE Gaudron, EM Maitland and CC Turner   Made a flight from London, England, to Mateki, Dereveni, Russia—1,117 miles in 31 1/2 hours. Longest flight made from England.
  1908   Nov      The German Government purchases the "Gross I," "Parseval I" and "Zeppelin I."
  1908   Nov      United States War Department purchases Thomas R. Baldwin's dirigible, 96 x 19 1/2 feet, with Curtiss 20 H. P. motor.
  1909         The non-rigid dirigible "Espana" travels from Beauval to Paris and return in five hours, ten minutes at 31 mph.
  1910   Oct 17   AR Hawley & Augustus Post   Travel in "America" from St. Louis to North Lake Chilogoma, Canada, a distance of 1,172.9 miles.
  1910   Oct 26      French build dirigible for English Government.
  1910   Oct 26      The "Morning Post" makes flight from Moisson to Farnborough, a distance of 230 miles, in 5.5 hours. Speed almost 42 mph.
  1912   Oct 27   Bienaime and Rumpelmager   Start on a journey from Stuttgart to Riazau, Russia, 1,375 miles.
  1913   Jun 19/21   Rumpelmager & William Goldschmidt   Sail from Lamotte, Brenil to Voitchy, Kharkoff, 1,600 miles.
  1914   Feb 8/10      "Berliner" sails from Bitterfeld to Bigsertsk in Peru, 1,895 miles.

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