The Montgolfier Brothers and the Hot Air Balloon

Man has long dreamed of being able to fly. In the 18th century, two brothers in France made that dream come true. Joseph Montgolfier and his brother Jacques found that filling paper bags with smoke made the bags float up into the air. They did more experiments. They wondered if it would work with a really big bag. They made the first hot air balloon.

Their first balloon had a diameter of thirty feet. It was made of silk cloth. On the inside, it was lined with paper. The paper was treated with a chemical so it wouldn't burn easily. The balloon was open at the bottom.

The brothers made a fire. They burned straw and wool in the fire at the bottom of the balloon's opening. The balloon filled with the smoky, heated air. It rose about a half-mile into the air. It flew for several minutes. It crashed to the ground a mile from where it had lifted off.

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