Broadsheet advertising Zambeccari's balloon, 1785.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Printed poster advertising the exhibition of Zambeccari's balloon after his ascent with Sir Edward Vernon in 1785. Count Francesco Zambeccari (1752-1812), an exiled Italian sailor, conducted the first succesful balloon experiment in England on 4 November 1783, releasing a small hydrogen balloon over Highgate in London. He was forced to leave England for a short time after becoming financially embarrased, but returned in late 1784 to complete his plans for a new balloon. His new balloon was made from 32 pieces of oiled silk and measured 34 feet in diameter with a capacity of 20,615 cubic feet. It ascended from Tottenham Court Road on 23 March 1785, landing an hour later at Horsham in Susex. After damages had been repaired, the balloon was put on display at the Lyceum.