LMAC #38: Giraffe Calls a Meeting, and a Brief History of Balloon Travel

in Let's Make a Collage2 years ago (edited)

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A sheep, a duck, and a rooster. No, not my collage--the first hot air balloon to carry passengers had these three barnyard animals onboard.

A 1783 Etching, on Paper, Showing the First Flight, with Passengers
balloon Montgolfier british musem public domain.jpg
This illustration may be found at the British Museum. The picture originally appeared in "European Magazine". Wikimedia states that image is in the public domain.

You'll be happy to hear that the three animals made it back to earth safely. The voyage lasted 10 minutes, and the balloon rose to a height of more than 5,000 feet. One report (perhaps apocryphal) suggests the only injury suffered was that endured by the rooster--after it was kicked by the sheep.

The animal passengers were a compromise. The King of France, Louis XVI, had wanted to send a couple of convicts instead. However, the Montgolfier brothers, who designed the balloon, demurred and sent three animals.

A few months after this flight, the first manned hot air balloon was launched. This balloon carried two men (not convicts!), traveled about 2 1/2 miles, and had a duration of about 25 minutes. The balloon reached an altitude of about 500 feet.
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A Chromolithograph of the First Manned Hot Air Balloon Flight
balloon flight manned 1783 public.jpg
This image was created sometime between 1890 and 1900, and is part of the U. S. Library of Congress exhibition, "Dream of Flight". Public domain
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It wasn't long before a gas balloon (hydrogen) was sent aloft. The first flight, in August of 1783, was unmanned. In December of that year, the inventor of the balloon, Jacques Charles, took a flight with his colleague, Nicolas-Louis Robert.

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1909 Postcard Illustration of First Manned Hydrogen Balloon
balloon gas jaques charles public.png
This image is in the public domain because of its age.

This flight lasted 2 1/2 hours. It is estimated the balloon traveled about 25 miles.
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Sending animals aloft and floating over Paris briefly may be a curiosity, but there is little utility to such exercise. However, directing a balloon over the English Channel--that's transportation. This is exactly what happened on the 7th of January, 1785, when Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel in a hydrogen balloon.
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Illustration of the First Successful Balloon Flight over the English Channel
balloon hydrogen English Channel.jpg
This illustration may be found at the U.S. Library of Congress and is part of its exhibition, "The Dream of Flight". 1890-1900, public domain.

On this voyage, the balloon traveled from Dover, England to Calais, France. It is said the two men onboard struggled to reduce the weight they carried so that eventually Blanchard threw his trousers overboard.
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My Collage

This week @shaka offered us a most beautiful photo to work with.

Shaka's Photo
shaka's photo 38.jpg

I couldn't do anything ugly to that photo so I enlisted some fantasy creatures to inhabit the scene. Here's a list of the elements, and sources:
balloon ship shaka.jpg pixabay
balloon pink shaka.jpgPixabay
balloon white and pink.jpgpixabay
flying pig shaka.jpgpixabay
sheep 2 shaka.jpgpixabay
lamb shaka.jpgpixabay
giraffe shaka.jpgPixabay
animals in balloon.jpgpixabay
donkey shaka.jpgpixabay
sheep many shaka.jpgpixabay
All the other elements: the dog, the mice, the surfboard, the beach house, the cups, the wings (on the giraffe) and two of the sheep--these came from Paint 3D. I used Gimp to create the GIF and some effects.

I've included a still frame from the GIF, because I think the animals are easier to see here.
Can you tell I had a lot of fun?

shaka 38 balloon giraff10bb.jpg

Thanks @shaka. LMAC is a great community. People from all backgrounds and with all skill levels participate. Anyone can join. Please check out this week's entries at @shaka's blog.

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Thank you for reading my blog

Hive on!


This is quite perfect for the moment when Elon just launched some folks into space. Should he have launched a giraffe and its co-passenger instead? Good effort taking us down the memory lane

Thank you so much for coming by!When I did the research on this brief blog I was surprised to learn that humans didn't manage to get a balloon in the air (with passengers) until 1783. So much understanding in science before that date, but not flight. It seems though, once we learned how to defy gravity, we didn't stop :) Where will it end, I wonder.
Have a wonderful, healthful day.

I really enjoyed the reading, actually even more than the picture you made! I guess I shouls apology about that. I truly hope you will nevertheless manage to get far in the competition :)

PS: Those old pictures you managed to resurrect are also great!

Hello @lemouth,
Thank you for enjoying my trip to the past. Perhaps it's safe to confess to a particle physicist that at my high school graduation I was given an award for interest in history :))
As for my flying giraffe and friends: as Peter Pan would say, "I won't grow up" 😅
I really do appreciate your stopping by and commenting. Means a lot.

I love history too (science history + "normal" history), to be honest. When I have time (this rarely happens those days), I like getting straight into the past with a nice book. My big boy also love history, by the way. I will give hi his first particle physics lecture today (he is 9 ;) ).

Lucky boy :)

I may actually share this here. If anyone is interested. The lesson one was "What is physics?", which is a not trivial question for a 9 y.o. kid :)

I think it's a great idea. And it's been 'laboratory tested'--the laboratory of your home, with your son as a test subject :))
When I was raising my children I was always looking for ways to present sophisticated material in language they could understand but that didn't infantilize the information. There were a lot of "Field Guides" in my bookcase.: colordul pictures with short, descriptive captions.

We should call the different things by their names. That is the most important part. Then we can further explain with terms easier to grasp, but using the right names is crucial, IMO.

Good to know that all three animals safely returned to earth.

Thank you, @tormenta. Yes! I had to look for that information. So many sites describe the passengers. Very few bother to mention how they survived. But we care :))
Good luck tonight. I love your collage.

A fantastic journey through history. I really always learn by reading.
I loved the sheep and the giraffe with wings (a new mythological species? created by you).
Greetings @agmoore, lovely collage

Thank you @marcybetancourt. My daughter said people would think I was 'tripping' 😃 It is so much fun to let the imagination free, isn't it? (without drugs 😂).
I appreciate those kind words very much. I hope your significant and beautiful collage does well this week.
Warm regards,

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Wow! I'm stunned. And all out of votes :) I'll have to come back later. Thank you so much. You brought a really big smile to my face.


I got on a balloon for the first time a year ago and I'm actually disappointed. I expected a lot more adrenaline. At least the view was beautiful.
Nice post :)

I'm jealous! I don't like heights, but a balloon flight seems so much nicer than an airplane.
Thanks for stopping by:)

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Thank you @hivebuzz. I love to vote. Wish I had more :)

You're welcome @agmoore👍🙂