Saturday Scenes

Thu 20 October 2011

A sheep, a cockerel and a duck walked into a balloon…

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:25

On the 15th of October in 1783, the first manned flight was made in a balloon by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.

Balloons captured the attention of the French after the discovery of hydrogen in 1776. Jaques Charles started with an unmanned balloon, which travelled 15 miles to land in Gonesse, where it was destroyed by local farmers wielding pitchforks.

The first passengers were sent off on September 19th of 1783 by the Montgolfier brothers. They launched a paper and cloth balloon with three passengers: a sheep, a cockerel and a duck. Pilâtre de Rozier helped to launch it. It reached 6,000 feet and landed with its barnyard passengers intact.

After this success, King Louis XVI wanted to send up two condemned criminals but Pilâtre de Rozier managed to convince him that being the first balloonist would be an honour, not a punishment, and should go to a person of esteem. Namely, himself. The first test was with a tethered balloon.

Wonderful Balloon Ascents by Camille Flammarion (writing as Fulgence Marion), 1870

On Wednesday, the 15th of October, Pilatre des Roziers, who had on other occasions given proofs of his intelligence and courage in performing dangerous feats, and who had already signalised himself in connection with balloons, offered to go up in the new machine. His offer was accepted; the balloon was inflated; stout ropes, more than eighty feet long, were attached to it, and it rose from the ground to the height to which this tackle allowed it. At this elevation it remained four minutes twenty-five seconds; and it is not surprising to hear that Roziers suffered no inconvenience from the ascent. What was really the interesting thing in this experiment was, that it showed how a balloon would fall when the hot air became exhausted, this being the point which caused the greatest amount of disquietude among men of science. In this instance the balloon fell gently; its form distended at the same time, and, after touching the ground, it rose again a foot or two, when its human passenger had jumped out.

A few weeks later, on the 21st of November, Pilâtre de Rozier flew in an untethered balloon from the Château de la Muette to the Butte-aux-Cailles near Paris in the first recorded manned flight.

On the 15th of October in 2011 (two hundred and twenty eight years later) the following people gave proofs of their intelligence and courage in submitting their photography for all of Twitter to see! Take a look:

And here are the high-flyers who shared them:

Saturday Scenes is a great way to see the world from someone else’s point of view! Taking part is easy:

1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
2. Send it to @Satscenes on Twitter
3. Wait for the webpage to get updated
4. Oooh and aah over all the great submissions from all over the world!

So take a photograph this weekend and send it to @Satscenes!

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