Blanchard and Jeffries crosing the English Channel, 1785.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Blanchard and Jeffries crosing the English Channel, 1785.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Engraved plate from the 'Gentleman's Magazine', February 1785. French aeronaut, Jean Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809), was one of the foremost balloonists of his time. Together with the American physician, Dr John Jeffries (1744-1819), he made the first aerial crosing of the English Channel in a hydrogen balloon on 7 January 1785. The balloon they used was 27 feet (8.2 m) in diameter with a gondola suspended beneath it in which to carry the aeronauts. Taking off from Dover in Kent shortly after midday, they landed in the Foret de Guines, not far from Calais, approximately four and a half hours later. Famed throughout Europe for his ballooning pursuits, Blanchard also became the first person to fly a balloon in the United States on 9 January 1793.

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