Inside the 18th century obsession with hot air ballooning
I loved the history lesson. I got my lighter than air license in 1976 becoming the first licensed female pilot in Kansas. I had many years of adventures, training other pilots and years of The Fiesta in Albuquerque!
Great article. I always wondered how early scientists/engineers made hydrogen. I want to know more now. How did they even detect it in the 1st place?
Why does acid on metal produce it?
How was it “trapped” and filtered from other gases?
How was it transferred into a gas bag without significant contamination from surrounding gases?
My favorite adventure stories were always Jules Verne and my favorite memory was the 1956 movie version of “Around the World in 80 Days” with the ballon ride part. I know the book doesn’t have Fogg in a balloon but that doesn’t matter. To a young boy growing up, I could understand balloons and LTA tech far easier than what the Wright brothers did. 😂
For my grandmother’s 75th birthday we took her on a balloon ride (at her request.) It was honestly magical and wildly exciting-- we almost came down in a creek! It’s easy to see why it became such an obsession when invented.
Great read 🎈
Lovely piece. There’s a street in Manchester called Balloon Street after the first flight in the city by James Sadler in 1785.
Love the images provided, Thank you! I have a small collection of "old world" balloon items but had not seen the Passarola design before. That one would be something to look into again maybe combining with hovercraft technology, I just know I want one!
And it's still popular here 😍
Superb, a lovely essay!
Love this! Many years ago, i looked into a similar period of airship mania in the U.S. many years later. There really is something about *floating* that is different from powered flight.
So fascinating. My grandfather x 5 was a daredevil aeronaut in England in the 19th century - crossed the channel, rode a horse into the sky, let off fireworks from it. Truly incredible brave feats of madness.
Was a video camera man working for Coors when they sponsored their own balloon and had the opportunity to spend many hours in the air, including the fabulous Albuquerque balloon festival. Launching was a treat, landing always an adventure, especially with a heavy video camera on my shoulder. Each time we’d go through the rather ungraceful landings, our pilot would sardonically comment: “Defied death one more time.”
This is a cool article- I actually work with RE/MAX and the hot air balloon is our symbol and icon.
Thank you for sharing your work, I enjoyed the reading. I found myself intrigued so much my eyes were reading faster than my brain could follow. I appreciated your research and the artwork was helpful and fun to see.
I learned A LOT without realizing it. I felt like I was eavesdropping on a conversation, not in a lecture hall. I had fun Imaging the different designs.
I've only read three pieces on SubStack as I just came on. (I've been reading Alex Berenson for a while and he led me here).
I haven't quite figured out how to navigate SubStack and I hope I stumble on to many more stories like yours that make me happy I read them.
I am working in Paris, on the very ground the first manned flight took place, the chateau de La Muette gardens. Now it is where the OECD has its headquarters. Funny story, it is also where Parmentier grown the first potatoes for human consumption in France.
What a great presentation of hot air balloons! I really enjoyed your article!
I enjoyed reading this article very much. Thank you for the wonderful read and all the information