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The Montgolfier brothers lived in the small French town of Annonay. Both were interested in science, crafts, and technology from childhood. Their father was an entrepreneur who had his own paper mill. After his death, the eldest of the brothers Joseph-Michel inherited it and subsequently used it for his own invention.

For his scientific achievements and providing the best research paper writing service Joseph-Michel later became the administrator of the famous Parisian Conservatoire of Arts and Crafts. His younger brother Jacques-Etienne had an architectural specialty. He was fascinated by the scientific works of the eminent British natural scientist who discovered oxygen. This fascination led him to take part in all of his older brother's experiments.



The story of who invented it must begin with an explanation of the conditions that made such an amazing discovery possible. By the second half of the 18th century, a number of crucial scientific discoveries had already been made that allowed the brothers to put their own observations into practice. In 1766, another British researcher, H. Cavendish discovered hydrogen, a substance that became actively used in aeronautics. About ten years before the famous ballooning experiment, the famous French scientist A. L. Lavoisier evolved a theory about the role of oxygen in oxidation processes.



So, the story of the balloon invention is closely related to the scientific life of the second half of the 18th century. In this case, it is important to note that such an invention was made possible by the above-mentioned discoveries. The brothers did not only keep up with the latest scientific discoveries b,ut also tried to put them into practice.


It was this thought that prompted them to create the balloon.


They had all the materials they needed to make it: a paper mill left to them by their father provided paper, fabrics. At first, they made large sacks, filled them with hot air, and launched them into the sky. Their first few experiences pushed them to the idea of making a big balloon. At first they filled it with steam, but this substance quickly cooled when lifted, settling as water precipitation on the walls of the matter. Then they decided to use a substance which is famous for being lighter than air.


However, this light gas quickly evaporated and escaped through the walls of the matter. Even lining the ball with paper, through which the gas still quickly disappeared, did not help. In addition, hydrogen was a very expensive substance, and it was very difficult to obtain. They had to find out another option that would help them succeed in the experiment.



It is necessary to mention the impediments that the brothers had to face before the success of the experiment. After the first two failed attempts to lift the structure into the air, Joseph-Michel suggested using hot smoke instead of hydrogen.


This option seemed successful to the brothers, as this substance was also lighter than air and therefore could lift the balloon up. The new experience turned out to be successful. Word of this success quickly spread throughout the town, and residents began to ask the brothers to conduct a public experiment.



The brothers set the test for June 5. Both made careful preparations for this momentous occasion. They made a balloon which weighed more than 200 kilograms. It was without a basket - that indispensable attribute that we are accustomed to see in modern constructions. A special belt and several ropes were attached to it to hold it in position while the air inside the shell was heating up. The balloon of the Montgolfier brothers had a very imposing appearance and made a great impression on the audience. Its neck was placed over a fire that heated the air. Eight assistants held it by ropes from below. When the shell was full of hot air, the balloon went up.



The Montgolfier brothers invented the basket balloon as well. However, it was preceded by a huge resonance, which had the discovery of unknown researchers from a small French town. Scientists from the Academy of Sciences became interested in this discovery. King Louis XVI expressed such interest in the flight of the balloon that the brothers were summoned to Paris. September 1783 was assigned to a new flight. The brothers attached a willow basket to the bottom top of the balloon and announced that it would hold passengers. They wanted to fly themselves, but there was fierce discussion in the newspapers about the great risk. So it was decided to lift the animals in the basket to begin with. On the appointed day, 19 September, in the presence of scholars, courtiers and the king, the balloon was lifted together with the "passengers" - a rooster, a ram, and a duck. After a short flight, the balloon snagged on tree branches and dropped to the ground. It was found out that the animals felt well and then it was decided that a balloon with a basket could hold a person. 



For the first time in the history of ballooning, Pilatres-de-Rosier and the Marquis d'Arlandes dared to experience all the delights of ballooning. The flight of the intrepid celestial travelers, presented by Montgolfier, took place on November 21, 1783, at about 2 p.m. in the gardens of the Chateau de La Muette (Suburbs of Paris). The balloon flew upwards of 1,000 meters from the ground and flew 9 km, delighting spectators for 25 minutes. Having covered the distance across the Seine, the travelers landed on the hill of Butte-aux-Caires. Pilatres-de-Rosier and the Marquis d'Arland became national heroes, and the name Montgolfier is forever engraved in history.


Author’s bio

Melissa A. Holt is a specializing in 18th century’s History writer at WritingAPaper. She was born in Savannah (state of Georgia) but most of her life lived in New York. Has a Ph.D. in History. When not writing Melissa reads books and goes swimming. 

Citation Information:

1. “Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier: French Aviators.” The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, 2007. 

2. Schama, Simon. Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution. Random House of Canada, 1990. 

3. Sprekelmeyer, Linda. These WE HONOR: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006.