Blanchard balloon flight, 1793

Blanchard balloon flight, 1793

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Blanchard balloon flight. Illustration of the balloon flown by French balloonist Jean-Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809), one of the most famous aeronauts of the 18th century. He made the first balloon flight in the USA on 9 January 1793, an event observed by President George Washington. He also made the first aerial crossing of the English Channel. Fears the balloon might one day be used for an invasion of England by the French were widely held at that time. Blanchard's balloon included (variously) sails and 'aerial oars' to help steer his craft. This engraving, by Andrew Bell (1726-1809), is part of Plate 314 from the third edition (1797-1803) of the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica'.

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