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Descent of Mr. Sadler in the Irish Channel

 Digital Record
Identifier: VBI_000294


  • Creation: 1833 June 29

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

James Sadler was an inventor who became the first English aeronaut when he ascended from Oxford on October 4, 1784. He made several more ascents before retiring from public aeronautics in 1785 to focus on engineering. 25 years later, Sadler returned to ballooning, and in 1812 attempted to cross the Irish sea from Dublin to Hollyhead. For this, Sadler built a large balloon, the ‘Erin-go-bragh’, with a 55 feet diameter and a capacity of 87,114 cubic feet. Sadler was blown out to sea during the voyage and rescued by a fishing boat. The details of this voyage were published in "Balloon. An authentic narrative of the ærial voyage, of Mr. Sadler, across the Irish channel...." Sadler was followed in his aeronautic pursuits by his sons William Windham Sadler (1796-1824) and John Sadler.

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Box 15

Physical Description



5.6 x 7.6 cm

General Note

Illustration from a 1833 Saturday Magazine article on ballooning history showing James Sadler floating in the Irish Sea, holding onto the ropes of his balloon. A rescue boat is approaching.

Sources used for Biographical/Historical note

Hodgson, J.E., History of Aeronautics in Great Britain (Oxford University Press, London, 1924), 140-156.

Rolt, L.T.C., The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning 1783-1903 (Walker, New York, 1966), 79-81, 99-102.

Repository Details

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

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