Aeronautical vessel. Historical illustration of a 17th century theoretical aeronautical vessel designed by Francois Lana (1631-1687). Lana, a French Jesuit, began to design an air transport balloon around 1670. This is over 100 years before the Montgolfier brothers made the first successful balloon flight. Using the recently-invented air pump, Lana pumped the air out of large (6 metres in diameter) copper balloons (upper & lower centre). He hoped create a vacuum within the balloons and hence give them buoyancy. The project failed as external pressure crushed the balloons. Lana described his attempt in his book Prodome dell arte maestra, which was published in 1670.
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