Montgolfier brothers

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Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier.jpg

Joseph Michel Montgolfier
Jacques Étienne Montgolfier

The brothers Joseph Michel Montgolfier (born August 26, 1740 in Annonay near Lyon ; † June 26, 1810 in Balaruc-les-Bains ) and Jacques Étienne Montgolfier (born January 6, 1745 in Annonay; † August 2, 1799 ) were the inventors of the hot air balloon , the Montgolfière . Both are known, with or without the addition de , as Joseph (de) Montgolfier and Étienne (de) Montgolfier .


Joseph Michel was the 12th, Jacques Étienne the 15th of 16 children of the paper manufacturer Pierre Montgolfier and his wife Anne Duret. The brothers were taught science and trained in architecture. They later jointly managed the paper mill, which has been family-owned since 1557. Since the middle of the 1770s Joseph Michel occupied himself with aviation, initially with the parachute . In 1777 he made a self-experiment on the roof of his house, which turned out well. At the request of his family, he refrained from further attempts of this kind.

Inspired by a writing by Joseph Priestley , he then dealt with the properties of various gases. He wanted an airtight envelope filled with "light air" to rise. Experiments with hydrogen failed. In December 1782, the two brothers made their first - successful - attempt in their hometown Annonay with a balloon that rose by means of heated air. They burned wool and hay for this. The Montgolfiers mistakenly believed that smoke was the buoyancy and preferred highly smoky fuel.

First ascent of a Montgolfière on June 4, 1783

On June 4, 1783, they again let an improved balloon made of canvas , which had been sealed with paper, rise in front of the audience in Annonay . This flight lasted ten minutes and is said to have reached an altitude of over 2000 m.

Hot air balloon made by the Montgolfier brothers on October 19, 1783

Thereupon King Louis XVI. invited the Montgolfiers to a demonstration in Paris and at the same time commissioned the Academy of Sciences to conduct experiments with the "flying ball". Jean-Baptiste Réveillon provided advice, money and colored wallpaper for the balloon. On September 19 of the same year, in the presence of the king, the brothers raised a hot air balloon with three animals (mutton, duck and rooster) from the Palace of Versailles . The flight took a good eight minutes. Since the animals survived the experiment, the king gave permission for an ascent with humans.

On October 15, 1783, the physicist Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier undertook the first human journey in a Montgolfière with royal permission, in which he reached a height of about 26 meters. The balloon was still anchored to the ground with ropes.

On November 21, 1783, Rozier and the officer François d'Arlandes took off for the first time in a free-flying Montgolfière. The flight lasted 25 minutes and ended successfully on the Butte aux Cailles . Originally, convicts were supposed to be used as test subjects; however, after protests, this thought was dropped.

At the next manned ascent, on 1 December 1783 drove Jacques Charles in a developed his own hydrogen - balloon near Paris to a height of about 3 km.

The first manned balloon flight outside France was undertaken by Don Paolo Andreani and the brothers Agostino and Carlo Gerli on February 25, 1784 near Milan. They started from Moncucco, which is now in Brugherio . On May 18, 1784, José María Alfaro raised the first balloon on the American continent in Xalapa . It took off in an urban park before the wind carried it to Coatepec . It reached a maximum height of 800 meters above ground and covered around nine kilometers before landing.

In 1796, Joseph Michel Montgolfier automated the pulsation engine first built by John Whitehurst in 1772 , creating an autonomously working water pump, the hydraulic ram .

The Montgolfier brothers developed a process for the production of tracing paper in their factory ; Jacques Étienne Montgolfier later founded the first technical school for paper makers . They were members of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.



Web links

Commons : Montgolfier Brothers  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier . In: Encyclopædia Britannica . (English, ).
  2. ^ Library magazine. Issue 1/2007, p. 48 ( ( memento of October 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) PDF, 1 MB) accessed May 26, 2019.
  3. ^ Ferdinand von Biedenfeld , Julien Turgau: The balloons and traveling through the air. P. 84. Weimar 1851 ( digitized version ).
  4. Paolo Andreani (1763–1823) (Italian), accessed on February 24, 2010.
  5. Un día como hoy José María Alfaro elevó el primer globo aerostático en América. May 18, 2016, accessed March 12, 2019 .
  6. ^ Joseph Glynn: The Power of Water. 1853, p. 112 f.
  7. ^ List of members since 1666: Letter M. Académie des sciences, accessed on January 25, 2020 (French).