Hot air ballooning History

There is a great deal of debate about who actually made the first Hot Air Balloon. From the 3rd century there is evidence of the Chinese using Kongming Lanterns as signalling devices for their armies.  It is also believed around 700 B.C. to 200 A.D that the Nazca Indians of Peru used hot air balloons to help with the creation of the Nazca Line Drawings. Even the first manned balloon flight has some controversy attached.  Generally the first manned  balloon ride is credited to the Montgolfier brothers in 1783.  However an 18th century copy of the newspaper ‘La Gaceta de Mexico’ reported that in 1667, a citizen of Las Mendarios del Perro, Veracrus broke his leg in a fall following ascent in a strange device with fire.

Montgolfier Brothers

mongolf brothers

 We generally accept that it was Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier in 1783 that made the first manned hot air balloon.  The brothers were the sons of a paper manufacturer in Paris and the first balloon was made from paper and silk, powered by a fire of straw and wool.  On 19th September 1783 the first balloon flight was made but not with human passengers. Instead a sheep, duck and a rooster were aloft.
Following this success on 21 November 1783, two French noblemen, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Marquis D’Arlandes launched into the record books as the first humans to fly. The event was witnessed by 400,000 spectators.  The flight itself lasted 23 minutes and covered only a few kilometres before coming to rest in a vineyard.  To keep the farmers happy, pilot Pilatre de Rozier presented them with a bottle of champagne – so begins the tradition of Champagne Balloon Rides. mongolf balloon