Antique book illustration: air-balloon - Stock Image

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Antique woodcut, showing a schematic view of an air-balloon, made of long bands of silk covered with varnish to make it airtight. The aeronaut, or air-balloon pilot, stands in a light wickerwork boat which is tied to a network of cords that cover the whole balloon. A parachute is tied to the side of the balloon. The balloon is filled with either hydrogen or coal gas.

Invented by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, a remarkable ascent was made in 1804 by Gay-Lussac, who reached 23,000 feet - about 7,000 m - above sea level. "At this great height the sky has a very dark blue tint, and an absolute silence prevailed." Illustration from a book in Physics from 1883.



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