After the pioneering Montgolfier brothers' success, Jacques Charles (1746-1823), a French professor of physics, joined forces with two local craftsmen, Anne-Jean and Marie-Noel Robert, to produce a superior balloon. A subscription organised by Barthelemy Faujas de Saint-Fond funded the ascent. The balloon they constructed (called 'The Globe') was 12 feet in diameter, made of silk with an inpermeable rubberised coating to contain the lifting gas hydrogen. The unmanned balloon ascended from the Champ de Mars on 27 August 1783, and rose 3000 feet before falling to the ground 24 km away. The design by Nicolas-Marie Gatteaux (1757-1832) shows the profile portraits of French balloonists Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier. The French inscription translates as: 'For having rendered the air navigable'.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library