Hot-air balloon (18th century)

Hot-air balloon (18th century)

The French Montgolfier brothers were the first pioneers of flying.



Montgolfier brothers, Montgolfier, airship, aviation, hot-air balloon, inventor, inventions, balloon, thermodynamics, history of science, invention, French, Paris, physical, lift, gas laws, mechanics, technology, France, modern history, history

Related items


  • What nationality were the Montgolfier brothers?
  • When did the first public flight of the Montgolfier balloon take place?
  • How did village dwellers react when they saw the balloon arriving from Paris?
  • When did the first manned flight with the Montgolfier-type hot-air balloon take place?
  • According to legend how did the brothers prove that flying does not harm living creatures?
  • What happened to one of the Montgolfier brothers when he first flew with a balloon in 1784?
  • Which French ruler watched one of the first flights in 1783?
  • Is it true that in recognition of their achievement, the Montgolfier family was elevated to the nobility and granted a pension?
  • Is it true that uneducated people thought the balloon was the work of the devil?
  • Is it true that Leonardo da Vinci was the first to make a working hot-air balloon?
  • What was used to facilitate the horizontal movement of the balloon?
  • Which of these inventions was made before the Montgolfier balloon?
  • What height did the balloon reach at the first free manned flight?
  • Which gas was used in hot-air balloons from the end of the 18th century?
  • Which academic organisation accepted the Montgolfier brothers as members?
  • What type of hot-air balloon was the invention of the Montgolfier brothers?
  • What was the diameter of the first balloon to be used in public?
  • What problem did water vapour used at the first experiments cause?
  • Who did the King of France want to send for the first manned flight of the balloon?
  • In which historic age did the Montgolfier brothers live and work?
  • Which of these was not invented in the 18th century?
  • What was used to control the vertical movement of the balloon?
  • Who was not one of the contemporaries of the Montgolfier brothers?
  • Who was the contemporary of the Montgolfier brothers?


Hot-air balloon





The experiments of the French Montgolfier brothers marked an important milestone in the history of flying. Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier, sons of a family of paper manufacturers, conducted experiments with hot-air balloons.

A hot-air balloon is a balloon that uses hot air to generate buoyancy.

The brothers initially tried to use water vapour, but as it cooled down and therefore condensed, it made the paper balloon wet and rendered it useless. Later, they attempted to enclose smoke in the balloon, but as the smoke cooled down very fast, this did not yield any results. They finally achieved success by continuously heating the air in the balloon from the bottom.

The first balloons were unmanned, but later they put animals aboard. The official public demonstration took place near Paris in June 1783.

The balloon was constructed of sackcloth and paper and the flight took 10 minutes. The first free manned balloon lifted off near Paris in November 1783. There was an iron grill under the open bottom of the balloon, with burning straw and wood on it. The hot air and smoke lifted the balloon off the ground. That flight took 25 minutes and covered about 7.5 km. The two brave passengers, a scientist and a marquis became the pioneers of flight.

Related items

Hot air balloon

A hot air balloon is a balloon aircraft which is lifted by hot air.

Clothing (Western Europe, 18th century)

Clothing reflects the lifestyle and culture of the region's inhabitants.

The history of aviation

The animation offers a summary of the history of aviation from the Middle Ages.

Zeppelin airship, LZ 129 Hindenburg

A Zeppelin is a type of rigid-framed airship.

Zeppelin airship, LZ 17 Sachsen (1913)

A Zeppelin is a type of controllable, rigid airship.

Otto Lilienthal’s glider

The German engineer Otto Lilienthal was the first person to make successful flights with a glider designed by himself.

Submarine operation

Submarines submerge and surface by changing the average density of the hull.

Added to your cart.