Who Invented the Hot Air Balloon?

Since 1783, the hot air balloon has intrigued both adventurers and tourists. Today, it is often used in races at balloon festivals and as a wedding site for romantic couples. Man’s dream to fly has dated back to the 18th century. The dream came to fruition from an idea which lead to the invention of the hot air balloon.

In 1766, the idea that items can be lifted from Earth using hydrogen came from England’s Henry Cavendish. Hydrogen has negative weight because it is lighter than air which causes objects to rise. In 1782, the idea was taken a step further by Joseph Michel Montgolfier from Annonay, France. Using a silk bag filled with hot air which is less dense than air of room temperature, he was able to make the bag rise and fly for 10 minutes.

Joseph and his brother, Jacques-Etienne, took this idea another step further in September, 1783 and filled a large spherical bag with hot air. They lifted three farm animals (a duck, rooster and sheep) in an attached basket which flew three kilometers for eight minutes. French Scientist Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier was the first human passenger to rise in a hot air balloon tied down for safety precautions. A month later, Rozier and another man actually flew over Paris without the safety constraints. They traveled 16 kilometers at 3000 feet for 25 minutes. The air was kept hot by adding straw to the fire burning on a grill below the balloon.

Later that year, Jacques Charles reverted back to the idea of utilizing hydrogen to fill the balloon. He and Noel Roberts flew for 27 miles using the hydrogen balloon. In 1785, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier was killed in an attempt to cross the English Channel using a hydrogen balloon connected to a hot air balloon. The balloons exploded after flying for 30 minutes.

Many improvements have been made since then to ensure control and safety during flight. Hot air balloon Napa Valley has a rich and long history. Tourists visiting Napa Valley can enjoy spectacular views of the wine vineyards, orchards, livestock and wildlife while flying above in a hot air balloon. The hot air balloon Napa Valley provides breath-taking heights and views that other tourist attractions can’t match.