Ascent of the Montgolfiers' 'Le Fleselles', France, 19 January 1784.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The only recorded flight by Joseph Montgolfier (1740-1810) at Les Brotteaux, near Lyon. After the first hydrogen balloon ascent by Jacques Charles (1746-1823) and Nicolas Robert in December 1783, the Montgolfier brothers constructed the huge 'Le Fleselles', in honour of the Governor of Lyons, sponsor of the project. It was 131 feet high and 104 feet in diameter with a capacity of over 700,000 cubic feet. Over 100,000 people watched as the balloon reached a height of 3000 feet before a large tear in the fabric resulted in a rapid descent which left the seven aeronauts shaken but unhurt. 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.