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Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier is Born

Today in Masonic History Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier is born in 1745.

Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier was a French inventor.

Montgolfier was born in Annonay, France. He was the 15th of 16 children in his family. He was born into a family of paper manufacturers.

Mongolfier's brother Joseph was the the one with the inventors temperament, in fact Joseph was the first to conceive of the hot air balloon that the two would eventually partner on. Étienne was much more business like, although could certainly see what his brothers vision was.

The brothers began working together, first building smaller prototypes and eventually building a larger model.

On June 4 1783 the brothers had put together a full size model of their concept. To help bolster their claim to their invention they put on a public display in Annonay. The unmanned flight was estimated to go as high as 6,600 feet (2,000 m). Étienne then headed to Paris to put on further demonstrations of their invention. Étienne was the smart choice for this chore as he was the more out spoken of the two brothers. A description of Étienne once was "the epitome of sober virtues ... modest in clothes and manner."

In Paris Étienne recruited the help of Réveillon, a French wall paper manufacturer, to put together another balloon. A test flight was made on September 11th, the flight brought up concerns about the effect on living beings during the flight. For the next flight on September the 19th, King Louis XVI of France suggested that Étienne send up two criminals in the balloon. After consulting with Réveillon, the two decided to send up a sheep, a duck and a rooster. A sheep was believed to be the closest analog to a human, the duck was the control being an animal that flew regularly and the rooster was a bird that could not fly at altitudes. The flight was a success and the balloon landed safely with all occupants.

By November of 1783 another balloon was constructed with the purpose of sending a human being aloft. Étienne was the first to go up in the tethered balloon. Afterward Pilâtre de Rozier, a physics and chemistry teacher, went up in the balloon still tethered. Finally on November 21, 1783 the first free flight by humans was made.

To honor the Montgolfier brothers, King Louis XVI elevated their father Pierre to nobility making Pierre and his sons de Montgolfier.

Étienne was a member of Loge des Neuf Soeurs in Paris, France.