Gusmao's 'Passarola', 1709.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
At the beginning of the 18th century Bartholomeu Lourenco de Gusmao, a Brazilian monk, is said to have experimented with some kind of flying machine that was raised by fire. One story is that on 8 August 1709 he demonstrated a hot air balloon to the King of Portugal. No definite records exist of such a hot-air balloon; a curious omission had he been successful.