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Hydrogen balloon. Engraving of the first filling of a balloon with hydrogen in 1783. The balloon had been designed by Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles (1746-1823), a French physicist. The hydrogen was obtained by mixing iron and acid in barrels (bottom right). Charles had been inspired by the Montgolfier brothers' hot air balloons but realised that hydrogen would provide a more efficient buoyant force. The first flight by a hydrogen-filled balloon was from the Jardins des Tuileries, Paris, France on 1 December 1783. His balloon reached altitudes of 3000 m and led to an aeronautic craze. He also rubberised the balloon fabric, a valuable improvement.
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