Handbill announcing Sadler's balloon ascent, 1814.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A printed handbill announcing James Sadler's ascent from Castle Yard, Exeter, Devon on Saturday 22 October 1814. Sadler was an ingenious inventor and became the first English aeronaut after making a balloon ascent from Oxford on 4 October 1784. He retired in 1785 to devote his energies to improving the steam engine, patenting a rotary engine and experimenting with steam-powered road vehicles. He was only encouraged back to the skies 25 years later, when he made several new ascents, including a failed attempt to cros the Irish sea by balloon on 1 October 1812. This ascent was made in the balloon used by his son, Windham, during the Grand Jubilee celebrations on 1 August, 1814. Dimensions: 260mm x 127mm.