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Grand New Balloon

 Digital Record
Identifier: VBI_000190


  • Creation: 1836


Conditions Governing Use

Access to the Theodore Newton Vail Collection of Aeronautical Images, Broadsides and Clippings is not authorization to publish. Separate written application for permission to publish must be made to the Institute Archives. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection.

Biographical / Historical

The first ascent of Charles Green’s Royal Vauxhall balloon (later called the Nassau) was on September 9, 1836 from Vauxhall Gardens. Nine passengers were aboard the oval wicker car carried by the balloon. These included Charles Green and his wife, his brother James, Robert Holland, and six others. The balloon held 70,000 cubic feet of gas. In less than five minutes, the balloon had reached a height of 13,000 feet and after an hour and a half, Green landed near Cliffe, about five miles from Gravesend.

Charles Green (1785-1870) was one of the 19th century’s most celebrated aeronauts. He made over 500 ascents in his career, primarily in his native England. These ascents included the first voyage in a balloon filled with coal-gas. Most of Green’s ascents were made in his Royal Vauxhall Balloon. Among these was an 18 hour, 480 mile journey undertaken in November 1836 from Vauxhall Gardens in London to Nassau in Germany. Green was accompanied on this record-breaking trip by Robert Hollond and Monck Mason. The details of this trip are written in Monck Mason’s "Aeronautica" (1838). Thereafter, the Vauxhall Balloon was known as the “Nassau” or “Royal Nassau” balloon. In 1840 Green proposed a cross-Atlantic flight which generated much publicity but never took place. Charles Green was also involved in the tragic death of amateur parachutist Robert Cocking, whose fatal descent was made from the Nassau balloon piloted by Green. He retired from ballooning in 1852.

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Box 8

Physical Description



35.0 x 22.6 cm

General Note

Broadside advertising the first ascent of the new Vauxhall Royal Balloon from Vauxhall, September 9, 1836. Contains a detailed description of the balloon's dimensions, construction and inflation methods used, and describes Charles Green’s aeronautic experiments and inventions.

Sources used for Biographical/Historical note

Crouch, Tom D., The Eagle Aloft, Two Centuries of the Balloon in America (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., 1983), 178.

Hodgson, J.E., History of Aeronautics in Great Britain (Oxford University Press, London, 1924), 241-262.

Rolt, L.T.C., The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning 1783-1903 (Walker, New York, 1966), 118, 121-130.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

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