Glorious Images from the First Space Age: The Balloon Age
From Greek myths to hot air balloons to Elon Musk's Space X, people have always dreamed of ascending to the clouds.
From the antiquity of Greek myths such as the legend of Icarus to flying machines of Leonardo da Vinci, people dreamed constantly of ways to reach the clouds. Their dreams first came true on 4 June, 1783, when the Montgolfier brothers showed the public their hot air balloon for the first time. A few months later, they took the first passengers for a dangerous flight. In a striking resemblance to the dawn of the Space Era, which started with a dog flying to outer space, the first aeronauts on a board a balloon were a sheep, a duck, and a rooster.
Two months later, on 21 November, 1783, aeronaut Pilâtre de Rosier became the first human to take flight in a balloon. For the journey, the balloon stayed aloft for 28 minutes (vs. 108 minutes for the first spaceflight), and its flight altitude reached 3,000 feet (vs. a first spaceflight orbit of 202 miles).
Fairly soon, others like the Robert brothers and Jacques Charles invented a hydrogen balloon, which allowed flying higher and further. Competing teams experimented with novel balloon designs, one of which was fatal for Pilâtre de Rosier, who died on the way from France to England in a fire. He is not just the first human who flew, but also the first who died in the process.
Early balloon flights attracted thousands of spectators. News agencies and publishers put the novelty in the mouth of everyone in Europe and across the globe: news articles and fictional tales of balloon escapades became extremely popular. There were acrobats on the air balloons, aerial photography, fantastic scientific ideas, and in no time, the things floating in the skies won millions of hearts.
You can find a manifold of air balloon images in the Balloons Collection on Picryl.com, the website that is gathering millions of public domain images from around the world in one place. See the whole collection here!
1949. Vienna, seen from a balloon.
Collectors cards with pictures of events in ballooning history from 1795 to 1846.
1862. Admissions ticket to Eugène Godard's ascent in the balloon "L'Aigle" from a location in France.
1879. Gameboard with illustrations of air balloons.
1884. Balloons, airships, and other flying machines designed with some form of propulsion.
1849. Advertisement for a Paris jewelry store depicting a man sitting in a ring tied to a balloon labeled "Palais des diamants."
1862. French caricature of photographer and balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon a.k.a Nadar, who made the first aerial photography / A. Humbert.
1859. Cartoon showing monstrous balloon competing with railroad train as a freight carrier.
1907. Field and balloons in Berlin Balloon Race.
1990. Mass ascension on Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Tracking project establishes northern Argentina is wintering ground of Swainson's hawks
- Watch these six dots move across the map and be moved yourself: this is a story about coming of age, discovery, hardship, death and survival.
- Each dot is a tag attached to the talon of a Swainson's Hawk. We follow them on their very first migration, from northern California all the way down to Argentina.
- After one year, only one is still alive.
These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.