Ballooning pioneer, c 1780s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Portrait of either French physics profesor Jacques Charles (1746-1823), or Nicolas Robert (1761-1828), who together made the first manned (free flight) ascent of a hydrogen balloon. It was designed by Charles and constructed by Robert and his brother Jean, and took 2 hours to fly from Paris to Nesles-la-Vallee, over 27 miles (43 km) away. Illustration from 'Histoire des ballons et des aeronautes celebres: 1783-1800' (History of balloons and famous aeronauts), by Gaston Tisandier (1843-1899), published in 1887.