The fall of 1783 saw a rash of ballooning experiments in Paris. Franklin witnessed the first unmanned balloon ascend in Paris, and later signed his name to a report witnessing the first ascent of human passengers in a free balloon. He famously remarked when onlookers questioned the ultimate utility of ballooning, “Eh! à quoi bon l’enfant qui vient de naître?” (“What use is a newborn baby?”)
Listen to the latest episodes of CHF’s award-winning podcast.
Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible donation online.
©2010–2015 Chemical Heritage Foundation