Petin's planned aerostat, 1850s

Petin's planned aerostat, 1850s

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Petin's planned aerostat. 19th-century illustration of a planned but never-built aerostat design by French balloonist and inventor Ernest Petin. One of his designs in the 1850s had balloons the size of Notre Dame and was intended to carry as many as 3000 people. Petin's actual balloons (in both France and the USA and Mexico) varied between moderate success and crashes and failures. He was eventually bankrupted by the costs and died in France in 1878. Artwork from 'Aerostation - Aviation' (1911) by French civil engineer Max de Nansouty (1854-1913), part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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