Medal commemorating Charles and Robert's balloon ascent, Paris, 1783.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Medal struck to commemorate the balloon ascent from the Champ de Mars on 27 August 1783. After the pioneering Montgolfier brothers' success, Jacques Charles, a French professor of physics, joined forces with two local craftsmen, Jean and Noel Robert, to produce a superior balloon. The balloon they constructed (called 'The Globe') was just 12 feet in diameter. It was made of silk with an inpermeable rubberised coating and contain the lifting gas hydrogen. The balloon rose 3000 feet before falling to the ground 24 km away. The design by Nicolas Maine Gatteaux (1751-1832) shows the profile portraits of Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Mongolfier. The French inscription translates as: 'For having rendered the air navigable'.