A History, 1782–1900


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SKU: 9780786449415 Categories: , ,

About the Book

The hot air balloon has a fascinating history of much trial and error, scientific research and bold adventure. This book chronicles the development and advances in the endeavor and also provides insights into the people who developed the sport—many of whom lost their lives in the process. The book traces the history of ballooning from the Montgolfier brothers’ first experiments with a paper balloon in Annonay, France, in 1782, through the next several decades, when the sport’s waning novelty forced aeronauts to develop bigger, better and more dangerous tricks. It concludes at the beginning of the 20th century, when the age of the airplane rendered hot air balloons all but obsolete.

About the Author(s)

S.L. Kotar of St. Louis has been writing (together with J.E. Gessler) for more than four decades, beginning with scripts for television’s Gunsmoke.
The late J.E. Gessler lived in St. Louis.

Bibliographic Details

S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 303
Bibliographic Info: 33 photos, notes, bibliography, glossary, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4941-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9203-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. 1782—In the Beginning: A Voador, a Cock, a Duck and a Sheep      7

2. 1783—Monsters and Aeronauts      13

3. 1784—Big Ascensions      21

4. Rowing with Wings and Other Oddities      27

5. A Reservation for Hope      34

6. Don Quixote de la Manche      41

7. Destinies Played Out      47

8. Balloons at War      53

9. Playing Catch-up      58

10. The Sad Tale of Francis Barrett and the Great English Balloon      62

11. The Skies Belong to Garnerin      68

12. James Sadler and the Real Great English Balloon      76

13. The Women of Aerostation      80

14. (Mostly) Magnificent Balloon Ascensions: 1812–1819      89

15. For the World Is Green and I Have Touched the Sky      95

16. Candidates for Aeronautical Distinction      101

17. Mr. Harris and Miss Stocks: The Journey Unforeseen      108

18. The Aftermath and Beyond      115

19. The Case of the Pastry Cook and a Great Tragedy      121

20. An Astonishing Resurrection      126

21. Notwithstanding, Notwithstanding, Notwithstanding…      132

22. Ballooning in the Americas      141

23. The Europeans Continue to Make Headlines      152

24. American Barnstormers and E.A. Poe’s Great Hoax      156

25. All Balloons, Great and Small      166

26. More News from the Continent      175

27. “No Preventing Providence”      183

28. “A Little Relief from the Ordinary Cares of Life”      189

29. Crossing the Atlantic—Or Not      198

30. Higher Than Anyone Had Gone Before      209

31. Great Plans, Tragedies and a Civil War      212

32. Civilian Ballooning During and After the Civil War      217

33. Of Songs, Circuses and “No-Goes”      226

34. The “Impossibility” of Aerial Navigation      236

35. News That Shocked the World      239

36. Seekers After the Philosopher’s Stone      246

37. “Paddy-Whacks” but “No Balloon Rackets!”      252

38. Flying Too High      259

39. “A Ridiculous ‘Flunk’”      264

Appendix: Glossary      273

Chapter Notes      275

Bibliography      289

Index      291

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “well informed….replete with firsthand accounts…an enjoyable account”—Reference & Research Book News.