Skip to main content

An Exact Representation of M. Garnerin's Balloons

 Digital Record
Identifier: VBI_000258


  • Creation: 1802 November 30


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

Aeronaut André Jacques Garnerin (1769-1823) made the world's first successful parachute jump from a balloon on October 22, 1797 over the park of Moncau in Paris. He had formulated his plans for the parachute and descent while a prisoner of war in Hungary during the French revolution. In 1798, Garnerin's wife, Jeanne-Genevieve Garnerin (1779-1847), became the first woman to make a parachute jump, and his niece Elisa Garnerin (1800-1845) was also an aeronaut. Garnerin made approximately 200 successful jumps in his career before dying on August 18, 1823 after a beam struck him on the head while he was preparing balloon equipment.

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Box 11

Physical Description

Art on Paper


41.5 x 31.0 cm

General Note

Etching describing and depicting five balloon ascensions made by André-Jacques Garnerin between June and September 1802. The central image shows the stages of the first manned parachute ascent in England, made from the Parade Ground of the St. George's Volunteers, Grosvenor Square, on September 21, 1802.

Sources used for Biographical/Historical note

Crouch, Tom D., Lighter Than Air, An Illustrated History of Balloons and Airships, (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore), 44.

Rolt, L.T.C., The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning 1783-1903 (1966), 105-109.

Hodgson, J.E., History of Aeronautics in Great Britain (Oxford University Press, London, 1924), 218-223.

Repository Details

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US