Etienne-Gaspard Robert, Belgian aeronaut

Etienne-Gaspard Robert, Belgian aeronaut

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Credit: COLLECTION ABECASIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Etienne-Gaspard Robert (1763-1837). 1867 illustration of the Belgian aeronaut and stage magician Etienne-Gaspard Robert. Robert's stage name was Robertson. His illusion shows included examples of phantasmagoria and fantoscope, using forms of slide projectors and lighting effects. As an aviator, he set altitude records in balloons and carried out meteorological investigations. He proposed a never-built massive balloon ('La Minerve') of 80 tonnes to carry up to 60 scientists across the oceans on great voyages of discovery.

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