'The Montgolfier - A First Rate of the French aerial Navy', 1783.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An English satire on the French art of flying showing a fantastical image of a 'Montgolfier' hot-air balloon as the flagship for an imagined French aerial navy. French brothers Joseph Michel (1740-1810) and Jacques-Etienne (1745-1799) Montgolfier were amongst the first to succesfully exploit the idea of the hot-air balloon. They designed and constructed a balloon that made the first manned (free flight) ascent from the gardens of the Chateau de la Muette in the Bois de Boulogne on 21 November 1783. Ballooning rapidly spread throughout Europe, and hot-air balloons became known as 'Montgolfiers' after their original inventors. Published by E Duchery, St James Street, on 25 October 1783.