A check in the Park at Bagatelle
Hunting dress 1807
A gambling hell in the Palais-Royal
A gathering in the Luxembourg Gardens
Waiting for the Saint-Cloud Coach
Place de la Concorde
The Tuleries in 1802
The Wooden Gallery in the Palais-Royal
View of the two panoramas and of the passage between them
The Perron of the Palais-Royal
The Picture Exhibition at the 'Salon'
The first Switchback
The Boulevard 'Des Petits Spectacles'
The Delights of the Malmaison
A saunter through the park in 1804
In a little garden summer-house behind a Paris street, Le Sage sat at his desk, dipped through Spanish books, and wrote with a light heart of the people that he knew, disguised in foreign clothes, and moving in places he had never seen.
Charlemagne Crowned, a with the nimbus
Painting on glass from the Cathedral of Strousbeg, XII and XIV centuries
The ascent of this, the first hydrogen balloon, was a popular and a memorable event. The field was lined with troops. The curious spectators had thronged every thoroughfare and darkened every housetop. It was an all day festival, inaugurating a peculiarly French science, with French animation. The booming of cannon announced to all Paris the impending flight of the balloon. At five o’clock, in the presence of 50,000 spectators, and in a shower of rain, the balloon rose more than half a mile and entered the clouds. The people overwhelmed with surprise and enthusiasm, stood gazing upward, despite the rain, observing every maneuver till the vessel had ascended and faded from view.
The public inauguration of aëronautics occurred on June 5, 1783, at Annonay, the home of the Montgolfier family, 36 miles from Lyons. The states of Vivarais being assembled at that place, were invited to witness the ascension. The Deputies and many spectators found in the public square an enormous bag which, with its frame, weighed 300 pounds, and would inflate to a ball 35 feet in diameter. When told that this huge mass would rise to the clouds they were astonished and incredulous. The Montgolfiers, however, lit a fire beneath and let the bag speak for itself. It gradually distended, assuming a beautiful form, and struggling to free itself from the men who were holding it. At a given signal it was released; it ascended rapidly, and in ten minutes attained a height of 6,000 feet. It drifted a mile and a half and sank gently to the ground.
Stephen Montgolfier now wishing to send up human passengers, made a balloon of 100,000 cubic feet capacity. It was shaped like a full lemon pointing upward, with a cylindrical neck below, 16 feet in diameter. Around this neck was a wicker balcony three feet wide, to carry the aëronauts, bundles of straw for fuel, pails of water and sponges to extinguish incipient conflagrations, here and there in the balloon, during a journey. Through stokeholes in the side of the neck sheaves of straw could be forked to the grate suspended centrally below by radial chains. During inflation the base of the balloon rested on a platform, and its top was supported by a rope stretched between two poles. The vessel when completed, in a garden of the Faubourg St. Antoine, was 85 feet high by 48 feet across, and weighed 1,600 pounds. About its zone, painted in oil, were elegant decorations; portraits, cyphers of the king’s name, fleur-de-lis, with fancy borders below and above; while higher still, on the arching dome of the bag, were all the signs of the celestial zodiac.
A still more elaborate and colossal air ship was the Geant, constructed in 1863, for A. Nadar of Paris. It was made of a double layer of white silk, had a volume of 215,000 cubic feet and a buoyancy of 4½ tons. The car was a wicker cabin 13 feet wide by 7 feet high, with a wicker balcony round the top so that the roof could be used as an observation deck—a delightful place to loll in the starlight, or watch the morning sun “flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye.” The closed car comprised two main rooms with a hallway between them, one containing the captain’s bed and baggage, the other having three superposed berths for passengers. Minor divisions of the car were reserved for provisions, a lavatory, photography and a printing press, the latter to be used for the dissemination of news from the sky, as the navigators floated from state to state. A compensator balloon of 3,500 cubic feet, just below the main bag and connected with it, received the escaping gas during expansion with increase of tempera61ture or altitude, and gave it back on contraction.
The first attempts at balloon propulsion could not be seriously regarded by trained engineers, even at the inception of aëronautics; but still, as infantile steps in the new art, they may deserve passing notice.
Blanchard, on March 2, 1784, made the first real effort to steer a balloon, using for that purpose a spherical gas bag and car provided with aërial oars and a rudder. As he was about to ascend, however, from the Champs de Mars, a young officer with drawn sword persisted in accompanying the pilot, thus compelling Blanchard to leave his wings on earth to allow sufficient buoyancy for himself and his obtrusive guest. His first trial was, therefore, frustrated; but subsequent ones made with that inadequate contrivance also proved futile under the best circumstances; for the scheme was evidently puerile, though tried by various grown-up men besides M. Blanchard.