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Montgolfier’s experimental balloon

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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.

Author
Aërial Navigation
A Popular Treatise on the Growth of Air Craft and on Aëronautical Meteorology
By Albert Francis Zahm
Published in 1911
Available from gutenberg.org
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