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Profile of the Day: Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier

Have you ever been in a hot air balloon? On this day in 1745, French inventor Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was born.

Profile of the Day: Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier

Image: Library of Congress

Montgolfier was born on January 6, 1745 in Annonay, France into a family of paper manufacturers. His brother, Joseph-Michael, developed an interest in aeronautics and enlisted Jacques-Étienne to help construct a balloon in the 1770s. As they worked together, the brothers discovered that heated air directed into a paper or fabric bag made the bag rise. After much experimentation, they built a balloon made of silk and lined with paper and publicly demonstrated their invention in June 1783. The balloon rose more than 3,000 feet and stayed in the air for ten minutes before landing 1.5 miles away.

News of their success quickly spread throughout France. In the fall of 1783, the brothers successfully demonstrated their invention at Versailles for King Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette. The balloon also carried a few passengers: a rooster, a sheep, and a duck.

Explore Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier’s family tree on Geni and share you’re connection to the hot air balloon co-inventor.

View Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier’s Geni Profile


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