Talk:Montgolfier brothers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Looking round numerous websites, it seems there is confusion about the date of the first manned and unmanned ascent. I think April 4, 1783 might be unmanned, June 5 manned. Also there is wide variation on the Net of the statistics associated with the events, such as balloon volume, distance, height of ascent etc. PW

Also, the first flight across the English Channel was in a hydrogen balloon... which was invented by Jacques-Alexandre-César Charles, about whom there is no article. The hydrogen balloon was used extensively for the next 200 years, while the hot air balloon floated into obscurity until the discovery of propane. -Ryan Callahan

Hey, wouldn't it be fun to try a hot hydrogen balloon - lotsof hydrogen heated by a propane burner! ;)

Funny you should mention it, Pilâtre de Rozier actually died in hybrid balloon except of course that the flame was not meant to heat the hydrogen...

How high was high?

In one paragraph you mention De Rozier flying at 10,000 metres over paris. That's in excess of 30,000 feet --- impossible. Lowe only made 20,000 feet 80 years later.

Francesco Lana de Terzi[edit]

IMHO we should mention Francesco Lana Terzi, the father of Aeronautics User:Jeandré du Toit 00:24 Jan 2007

I was working on the Dutch lemma the other day and gathered some information. I think the French Wikipedia is best informed on the subject, the German Wikipedia is also in trouble on that particular subject, but there is a book by :

  • Schama, S. (1989) Citizens. A Chronicle of the French Revolution, p 123-31; 884-5.

Simon Schama writes very literary about the Montgolfier brothers and the balloons, but is using only French sources. His account is very interesting, funny and looks reliable.

I assume one of the authers, working on this lemma, was using a book in French on the subject, or:

  • Gillispie, C.G. (1983) The Montgolfier brothers and the invention of aviation, 1783-1784 : with a word on the importance of ballooning for the science of heat and the art of building railroads. Princeton, N.J, Princeton University Press.

But Schama does not mention it for some reason, and I have not read it yet. Taksen 08:42, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


This page has been seriously vandalized and needs someone to check all the facts and rectify. --Renier Maritz (talk) 09:23, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Description of the work of Jacques Charles needs work[edit]

This entry contains a description of the work of Jacques Charles, but it does not compare well with the existing entry on this man. Two things: (i) This article says that JC went into the sky twice on 1 December, but the entry on JC does not mention this. So which is right? So can someone more knowledgeable about the subject fix this? (ii) Slightly more detail (number of people watching; downpour ending the show) about JC's flight is provided in this article than in the article on the man himself. Unfortunately these details are unsourced, but if verifiable, I think that they should be moved to the JC article. JRGp (talk) 23:00, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Spelling of Montgolfier[edit]

Why does the picture provided

Jacques Étienne Montgolfier

spell the name without the 't'. Is that just a typo in the image? -AndrewDressel (talk) 17:06, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

New amazing claim[edit]

Etienne became the first human to lift off the earth in a tethered balloon. It occurred sometime in August 1783. A letter from his wife, dated sometime in August 1783, refers to his safe return from the flight. This informaton was not known until approximately 1983 when Gillispie published it in his book "The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation." - 19:20, 29 September 2009

This is an extraordinary claim, that contradicts numerous reliable sources, and so requires an extraordinary reference. The book might do, if we had a page number and a quotation. -AndrewDressel (talk) 12:11, 29 September 2009 (UTC)

Number of Children[edit]

In the Early Years section the first paragraph says that Pierre and Anne had sixteen children. In the second paragraph Joseph is described as the 20th child.

At least one of these is in error

Martin Ross 2009-11-3 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:19, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

The second paragraph is a typographical error. Joseph was the 12th of 16 children, while Etienne was the 15th. [1] Sandy Morton 08:28, 12 November 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sandy Morton (talkcontribs)


  1. ^ C.C.Gillispie, page 7.

Was Pilâtre de Rozier the first airman?[edit]

I cut the following addition from article for discussion here:

Was Pilâtre de Rozier the first airman? The distinction is always accorded him…for his feat of soloing in the same balloon held captive in test runs on 15, 17, and 19 October [1783]. Before that, however, Etienne himself flew the new balloon in experiments that were not then, and have never since, been reported (unless one cryptic sentence in the account of the academic commission may be called a report: “We shall say nothing of the several preliminary experiments, but will turn at once to that which was performed in our presence on 15 October”) Etienne may simply have preceded Pilatre on the 15th, but it seems more likely that he tried the machine out several days before that. …We do not have the letter in which Etienne did recount the escapade to Adelaide (his wife). Her reply, however, leaves no doubt about the fact: “I have just received your letter, my dear one, where you tell us about your embarking. Although it did not give me much pleasure, I congratulate you on your success and specially on your safe return. I don’t much like these aerial voyages….” In a letter to Etienne from his irate father (Pierre) dictated to his eldest son, Jean-Pierre Montgolfier l’aine, it reads in part “He requires you to give him no further cause for distress and…not to get in the machine. You’ve already got out of it what you wanted to know.” Those lines were countersigned… “Ton pere Montgolfier.” On the basis of the flight(s) he had been obliged to confess previous to 15, 17, and 19 October he modified the balloon.[1]

So, does this mean that we can quote Gillispie as claiming that Etienne flew first? - AndrewDressel (talk) 18:14, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

The academic commission mentions "several preliminary experiments", there are several letters from Montgolfier family members relating Etienne's tethered flight that surfaced almost 200 years after the fact as a result of Gillispie's research into the Montgolfier family archives in circa 1983, and Etienne modified the balloon Rozier used in October as a result of Etienne's flight(s). Yes, I think we can quote Gillispie that Etienne flew first. Rigid requirements of proof were not in place in 1783. viz: FAI was 122 years hence.[2] Sandy Morton (talkcontribs) 07:07, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
Great. What would be the exact quotation? Is there a single sentence that makes his point? I don't have a copy of the text. -AndrewDressel (talk) 21:59, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
There is no single sentence that makes his point. The two pages along with their notes need to be read to convince the reader re: his assertion concerning Etienne. Here is my suggested sentence for insertion. I'd appreciate your comments.
"Gillispie, in his research into never before seen archival material, circa 1982, uncovered proof that Etienne was the first human to fly a tethered balloon in October 1783 prior to Rozier’s tethered flights in the same month." [3] Sandy Morton (talkcontribs) 07:59, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
Quoting his conclusion would be the best, but according to wp:synth,
Carefully summarizing or rephrasing source material without changing its meaning is not synthesis—it is good editing. Best practice is to write Wikipedia articles by researching the most reliable published sources on the topic and summarizing their claims in your own words, with each claim attributable to a source that explicitly makes that claim.
what you suggest might be as good as we're going to get. Without reading the book myself, though, I'd prefer the phrase "strong evidence" over the single word "proof". Objections? -AndrewDressel (talk) 14:41, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
I hope you have received the several pages from Gillispie's book I sent you via email. I would call you attention to page 45, right hand column, Gillispie says..."Her reply leaves no doubt about the fact...these aerial voyages." See reference note 47 on page 184, "Adelaide appended this response to a postscript she had already added to a letter to Etienne from abbe, 18 October 1783. (MA IX, 10)." Because Adelaide's letter was dated 18 October 1783, to me, is proof that he flew on or before 15 October.
My reasoning for asserting that statement: Let's assume Etienne flew. The day he flew or perhaps some days later he writes to his wife regarding the flight. It takes days for the letter to get to her. She digests what he has written. Even if she wrote back the same day she received his letter he had to have flown either very early on the 15th or some day(s) prior to the 15th. In addition, in other notes in your possession(i.e.- if you rec'd my email!)as a result of his flight he "modified the balloon" (see page 46, left-hand side, 3rd paragraph)prior to Rozier's flight on the 15th. I strongly suspect, as does Gillispie, that Etienne flew before the 15th because he had to have some time to modify the balloon.
Based on that reasoning, I would suggest we leave the settled word "proof" versus "strong evidence" in my suggested insertion. Your thoughts.- (talk) 07:39, 15 November 2009 (UTC)


  1. ^ C.C. Gillispie, pages 45, 46.
  2. ^ C.C. Gillispie, pages 45, 46.
  3. ^ C.C. Gillispie, pages 45, 46.

Flying machines?[edit]

There seems to be at least a word missing from the first sentence of the Early experiments section: "Of the two brothers, it was Joseph who first contemplated building machines". My guess is that it should read: "Of the two brothers, it was Joseph who first contemplated building flying machines", but I don't have access to the book to check that. Awien (talk) 13:15, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

There is a poem that celebrates hard labor and the hard labor that goes into conceiving hot air balloons written by Anna Letitia Barbauld in 1797 called "Washing Day." Here's the link:

The Montgolfier brothers are mentioned at the end. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Following Launches[edit]

This section should really be for the following launches made by the Montgolfier brothers, not by competitors. Instead, looking back at this page after editing it yesterday and subsequent edits by others, it is looking like a vehicle for people desperate to prove the superiority of other technologies; which is a discussion for the [Balloon (aircraft)] pages, not here. These paragraphs would sit better in the history section of that article.

A small discussion of this interesting decade (a 1780's version of iOS/Android ;-) ) would be appropriate in the existing 'Competing Claims' section to lend the article some historical background, but this article should be focussed on the Montgolfier's, at present that focus evaporates halfway through the text. EasyTarget (talk) 13:03, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Portrait placement[edit]

Is there a particular reason why the two brothers' portraits aren't placed side-by-side in this article in one combined Infobox? See, for example, the Wright brothers Good Article. If no one objects, I'll go ahead and make this change.  JGHowes  talk 15:31, 27 July 2015 (UTC)


There seems to be a numeric error. The original section reads:

"Other balloons, competing claims Some claim that the hot air balloon was invented about 3 years earlier by the Brazilian/ Portuguese priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão.[11] A description of his invention was published in 1709? in Vienna, ..."

But if the Montgolfier balloon took of in 1783, it would be quite impossible to talk about another earlier balloon take-off of 1780, in the year 1709. Unless that writer has the rare ability to see the future... :-D Means: this year needs to be corrected.

SvenLittkowski (talk) 00:47, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 2 external links on Montgolfier brothers. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, you may follow the instructions on the template below to fix any issues with the URLs.

As of February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{sourcecheck}} (last update: 15 July 2018).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 13:18, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

Picture of Joseph-Michel[edit]

Should there not be a picture of Joseph-Michel included, instead of two pictures of Jacques-Etienne? I would recommend this image from Wikimedia Commons: 2600:6C5E:5A80:13F8:40C4:49CF:F24A:E08F (talk) 02:59, 21 November 2018 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. I suggest you be bold and make the change. Awien (talk) 13:14, 21 November 2018 (UTC)