The first ascent in a hydrogen balloon, 1 December 1783.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured print entitled 'Seconds Voyageurs aeriens, ou Experience de MM Charles et Robert', showing Charles and Robert's balloon ascent from the gardens of the Tuilleries in Paris on 1 December 1783. Designed by Jacques Charles (1746-1823), a French profesor of physics, and constructed by the brothers Jean and Noel Robert, this balloon carried Charles and Noel Robert on the first manned free flight ascent of a hydrogen balloon. The balloon set off from the Tuilleries at 1.40pm in front of a crowd of 400,000, landing over two hours later at Nesle-la-Vallee, between Nesle and Hedouville, over 27 miles (43 km) away. Robert alighted here, while Charles re-ascended in the balloon, reaching an altitude of over 9000 feet (2.7 km). Dimensions: 305mm x 406mm.