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THE MONTGOLFIER BROTHERS
The brothers Montgolfier, both born in Annonay in southern France, were French paper manufacturers by profession but became famous as the inventors of the hot air balloon and aviation pioneers.
Joseph-Michel Montgolfier (1740-1810) and Jacques- Étienne Montgolfier (1745-1799) are historically best known as inventors of the Montgolfière-style hot air balloon, the globe aérostatique.
During 1782, Joseph-Michel had observed embers lifting from a fire into the air, which gave him
the idea for an experiment. He constructed a box with a volume of approximately 1.3m , made
from very light wood and covered on 5 sides with taffeta fabric, but leaving the bottom side open; when he lit it from below with crumbled paper as a heat source, the box lifted into the air until it hit the ceiling of the room.
Encouraged by this first successful experiment, he contacted his brother Jacques-Étienne.
Together, they built a much larger box, 27 times greater in volume. On 14 December 1782 they did the test flight, using hay and wool for the fire, and this box flew almost for two kilometers.
To claim their invention the brothers decided to leave obscurity and to go public.
They changed the construction to a globe-shaped balloon made from sack- cloth and layers of paper, with a volume of nearly 790 m3 (28,000 ft3) of air and a weight of 225 kg (500 lb). On 4 June 1783, they flew the balloon
at their hometown of Annonay in front of a group of dignitaries. The flight covered 2 km (1.2 mi), lasted 10 minutes, and had an estimated altitude of 1,600-2,000 m (5,200-6,600 ft). The news of this spectacular endeavour quickly spread to Paris ... and to the French Royal court.
Enlisting the support of the wealthy wallpaper manufacturer Jean-Baptiste
Réveillon, Jacques-Étienne built an impressive 1,060 m3 (37,500-cubic-
foot) balloon held in sky blue colour, attractively decorated with golden
patterns, Zodiac signs, and suns. The king himself had originally suggested to test this flight with two convicted criminals as passengers, but on 11 September the balloon was launched in Paris from the grounds of la Folie Titon, close to Réveillon's factory, first without any passengers.
On 19 September 1783, the Aérostat Réveillon was launched from the royal palace in Versailles in front of King Louis XVI of France, Queen Marie Antoinette and the royal court. To test the effect of the higher atmospheres on living creatures, the balloon carried the first living passengers: a sheep named Mont-au-ciel (engl. “Climb-to-the-sky”), a duck, and a rooster. The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered three kilometres (2 miles), and obtained an altitude of about 460m (1,500 ft) after which it safely landed.
As the animals had survived this flight unscathed, the king now authorised flights with humans. For this purpose, Jacques-Étienne built in collaboration with Réveillon a 1,700 m3 (60,000 ft3) balloon, about 21m (70 feet) tall and 14m (46 feet) in diameter. Réveillon supplied the paper with rich decorations of gold figures on a blue background, including fleur-de-lis and the 12 zodiac signs in the upper section, suns with Louis XVI's face in the centre interlaced with the royal monogram in the central section and red & blue drapery and golden eagles at the base of the balloon.
On 15 October 1783, Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was the first human to lift off earth in a tethered test flight. Thus, the age of human flight had started.
On 21 November 1783, the first free flight by humans was made
by the physicist Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, together with an army officer, the Marquis François Laurent d'Arlandes.
In 1983, the Montgolfier brothers were inducted into the
International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
THE LIMITED EDITION MONTGOLFIER PIPES
The limited edition Montgolfier pipes have been created and manufactured to pay homage to the Montgolfier brothers, inform about their invention of the hot-air balloon and to celebrate the first confirmed human flight by Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier on 15 October 1783.
The Montgolfier pipe is a classic Apple shape in Group 4 (4101) - reminiscent of the shape of a balloon. It is fitted with an engraved Sterling silver band and each pipe is accompanied by a solid, weighty Sterling Silver tamper showing in finest detail a practical interpretation of the Aérostat Réveillon.
The highly collectable Montgolfier pipes & tampers are presented in a prestigious leather-bound book and come with a numbered and hand-signed limited edition certificate.