'A cloud in a paper bag'

Joseph Montgolfier, 1782



Long before the invention of the aeroplane, the brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier designed the first hot air balloon.

On 21st November 1782, the first manned balloon took to the skies over Paris. On board were Pilatre de Rozier and the Marquis D'Arlandes. The balloon flew for 25 minutes and travelled 9 km, thus marking the very beginning of modern day flight. 

The basic principles of the balloon haven't changed since the first Montgolfier. The air inside the balloon becomes more buoyant when heated and will rise when the air is lighter than the air surrounding it. This, however, was unknown to the Montgolfier brothers who were convinced they had discovered a new 'lighter than air' gas. They named this the 'Montgolfier gas'.