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When Were Hot Air Balloons Invented?

Have you ever wondered when were hot balloons invented? Hot air balloon is one of the earliest and most enthralling chapters in the amazing history of human flight. It is a trip through inventiveness and imagination.

Although the desire for flight has long been a source of inspiration for people, hot air balloons were the first to actually realize this ambition in the late 18th century.


Let's go through time to find out when and how hot air balloons were created.

When Were Hot Air Balloons Invented?

Two trailblazing individuals, brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier from Annonay, France, are credited with creating hot air balloons.

The Montgolfier brothers were paper producers with an interest in the enigmatic and uplifting qualities of hot air.

It all started in 1782 when Joseph-Michel observed that clothing hung next to a fire would billow upward.

This simple discovery sparked the brothers’ curiosity. They proposed that something in the air itself was responsible for the ascent of objects.

Also, they began conducting experiments at their paper production with various materials and heat sources to verify their theory.

The First Hot Air Balloon's Birth

The Montgolfier brothers performed their first open display of a hot air balloon on June 4, 1783, near Annonay, France. This balloon had a diameter of around 9 meters and was composed of cloth and paper.

Also, the balloon started to gently ascend when they heated the air inside of it, much to the amazement of the observers. Even though it was an unmanned flight, this was the beginning of the first successful hot air balloon flight.

Later, the Montgolfier brothers flew a bigger balloon in a second, more ambitious test trip near Lyon, France, the next year, in 1784.

This time, they carried a sheep and a rooster as passengers, making them the first living things to fly in a hot air balloon. The eight-minute flight ended with a successful landing for the animals.

The First Hot Air Balloon Human Journey

It was evident that human flight was feasible, and the pioneering work of the Montgolfier brothers had stoked enthusiasm for this cutting-edge means of transportation.

One year after their initial successful performance, on June 4, 1784, a risky act was performed. A silk and paper hot air balloon built by the Marquis d'Arlandes and François Laurent d'Arleans took off from the Palace of Versailles with the approval of King Louis XVI.

This was the first known human hot air balloon trip. It travelled 9 kilometers while soaring to a height of almost 1,500 meters.

In addition to capturing people's attention in their day, the development of hot air balloons had a significant impact on aviation.

It established the groundwork for aerodynamics and buoyancy concepts, which were crucial in the eventual creation of airships like zeppelins and blimps.


The Montgolfier brothers' development of hot air balloons in the late 18th century was a pivotal point in human history. It heralded the invention of human flight and opened the door to more development in aviation.

A tribute to the enduring fascination hot air balloons arouse is the fact that they are still celebrated in festivals all over the world.

People travel from all over the world to events like the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to see the majesty of these colorful giants softly gliding across the sky.

Hot air balloon still piques our interest today and represent our unwavering urge to explore the skies.

Also, it serves as a timeless reminder of the force of curiosity and human ingenuity that these pioneering brothers travelled from a modest paper business in France to the huge blue skies of possibilities.

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