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The attempt balloon Globe , which burst near Gonesse, caused a riot among the inhabitants

Charlière is a name for manned gas balloons . The Academy of Science commissioned Jacques Alexandre César Charles to build balloons in the summer of 1783 because the court of King Louis XVI. did not want to wait so long until the Montgolfier brothers finally came from Annonay with their invention, which was under construction and called Montgolfière . From the information that came from around the Montgolfier brothers, it was not clear to Charles that the lifting gas used in Annonay was hot air. Charles, however, erroneously assumed that the Montgolfiers would use the " combustible air " discovered by Henry Cavendish in 1766 . So it happened that, with the help of the brothers Anne-Jean and Marie-Noël Robert, he developed gas balloons filled with hydrogen gas from Goldschläger skin . The first public gas balloon launch took place from the Field of Mars in Paris on August 27, 1783. This experimental balloon, designed by Charles, was called the Globe , had a diameter of around four meters and could carry up to nine kilograms.

It drifted in about 45 minutes to the vicinity of the village of Gonesse, not far from what is now Charles de Gaulle Airport . There the peasants attacked the monster that came down from heaven with pitchforks and spades.

The audience at the start was the then American ambassador to France, Benjamin Franklin . When someone asked him what the purpose of this new invention was, he replied with the counter-question: "What is the purpose of a newborn child?"

The first manned gas balloon ride with a Charlière took place on December 1, 1783 - just ten days after the first manned hot air balloon ride on the Réveillon , known as Montgolfière . The production of the necessary hydrogen gas from iron filings and sulfuric acid took almost three days. César Charles, together with Marie-Noël, the younger of the two Robert brothers, reached a height of around 450 meters near Paris. They stayed in the air for two hours and made a stopover in the village of Nesles-la-Vallée, 36 kilometers away. Then Charles rose on his own again. The first solo trip with a balloon took place with a Charlière.


  • Claude-Joseph Blondel: Un enfant illustrious de Beaugency: le physicien et aéronaute Jacques Charles , Académie d'Orléans, 2003, digitized