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French Étienne MONTGOLFIER

born Jacques-Étienne MONTGOLFIER

Inventor of the montgolfière style hot air balloon

Source :  Jacques CHANIS

Born: on January 06, 1745 in Vidalon-lès-Annonay, France
Died: on August 01, 1799 in Serrières, France


The Montgolfier brothers were born into a family of paper manufacturers in Annonay, Ardèche, France. Their parents were Pierre Montgolfier (1700–1793), and his wife Anne Duret (1701–1760), who had sixteen children. Pierre established his eldest son Raymond Montgolfier, later Raymond de Montgolfier (1730–1792) as his successor.

Joseph, the 12th child, possessed a typical inventor's temperament—a maverick and dreamer, and impractical in terms of business and personal affairs. Étienne had a much more even and businesslike temperament. As the 15th child, and particularly troublesome to his elder siblings, he was sent to Paris to train as an architect. However, after the sudden and unexpected death of Raymond in 1772, he was recalled to Annonay to run the family business. In the subsequent 10 years, Étienne applied his talent for technical innovation to the family business; papermaking was a high-tech industry in the 18th century. He succeeded in incorporating the latest Dutch innovations of the day into the family mills. His work led to recognition by the government of France as well as the awarding of a government grant to establish the Montgolfier factory as a model for other French papermakers.

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- Category Inventor