" In an age when human beings could fly, what other wonders might the future hold? The huge, seething crowds were something new under the sun.
The spectators who gathered in such huge numbers were just becoming accustomed to the idea of change.
We are pleased to provide visitors to our web site with access to an even broader range of images and objects from this period.
We invite you to share at least a small taste of the excitement experienced by those who witness the birth of the air age. Crouch Senior Curator, Aeronautics National Air and Space Museum Present at Creation: The NASM Collection of Objects Related to Early Ballooning The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt.
The old certainties of their grandparent's world were giving way to an expectation that the twin enterprises of science and technology would provide the foundation for "progress."The balloons sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products.
Party guests sipped Créme de l' Aérostatique liqueur and danced the Contredanse de Gonesse in honor of the Charles globe.
The Americans who were living in Paris to negotiate a successful conclusion to the American revolution were especially fascinated by the balloons.
It seemed only fitting that, at a time when their countrymen were launching a new nation, human beings were throwing off the tyranny of gravity.
Released in a bed chamber, "it went up to the ceiling and remained rolling around there for some time." Franklin emptied the membrane of hydrogen and forwarded it to Richard Price so that he and Sir Joseph Banks might repeat the experiment.
The delightful little toy was thus not only the first balloon to be owned by an American but also the first to reach England.