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        Hot Air Balloons in History | Stem in 30

        These historical images and artwork from the National Air and Space Museum chronicle the history of the hot air balloon.

        Montfolgier Ballon Flight | September 19, 1783

        This piece depicts the scene of a mass crowd watching the launch of the Montgolfier brother's balloon on September 19, 1783. No human passengers were aboard this first balloon, only a duck, a rooster, and a sheep that were tucked inside a cage made of wicker. All three of the animals survived and helped to demonstrate that balloon flight was safe for humans. Print, Etching on Paper, Colored.

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        Balloon Artwork, 1783

        The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. Enormous crowds gathered in Paris to watch one balloon after another rise above the city rooftops, carrying the first human beings into the air in the closing months of 1783. The excitement quickly spread to other European cities where the first generation of aeronauts demonstrated the wonder of flight. Print, on Paper, Colored.

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        Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, Aeronaut

        Portrait of Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, a Civil War era inventor and Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army Balloon Corps.

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        Intrepid Balloon Inflation

        Thaddeus Lowe inflating his balloon Intrepid during the Battle of Fair Oaks. No known copyright restrictions on this image.

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        Intrepid Lift-Off

        Thaddeus Lowe goes aloft aboard the balloon Intrepid to observe Confederate activity during the Battle of Fair Oaks, May 31-June 1, 1862. Library of Congress, courtesy National Air and Space Museum.

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