Montgolfier brothers, French balloonists

Montgolfier brothers, French balloonists

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Montgolfier brothers. Caricature of the French balloonists and paper manufacturers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (1740-1810) and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier (1745-1799) with a hot air balloon. The Montgolfiers are best known as the inventors of the Montgolfiere-style hot air balloon. They pioneered aeronautics in the eighteenth century and, in 1782, the brothers discovered that heated air collected inside a lightweight paper or fabric bag caused the bag to rise into the air. The first manned balloon flight took place in Paris, France, in 1783 in a balloon designed by the brothers. The Montgolfier design was incorporated in larger balloons that opened the way to exploration of the upper atmosphere. Joseph-Michel also invented the self-acting hydraulic ram (1796), while Jacques-Etienne founded the first paper-making vocational school and the brothers invented a process to manufacture transparent paper.

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