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The London Journal, November 21, 1863

 Digital Record
Identifier: VBI_000424


  • Creation: 1863 November 21

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

In 1863, Félix Nadar’s “Le Géant” was the largest gas balloon ever constructed, holding 200,000 cubic feet of gas. The passenger car below the balloon was a small, two-story wicker house 8 feet high by 13 feet long, containing a small photography room, a parlor, and a restroom. Underneath it was placed a smaller balloon, called a compensator, the object of which was to prevent loss of gas during the voyage. It was built largely by the Godard brothers, Louis and Jules. There were nine passengers on its first journey made from the Champ de Mars on October 4, 1853, including Madame Nadar. After 17 hours and 400 miles, Nadar attempted to descend at Hanover, Germany. The large balloon and its car were dragged along the ground by a strong wind for seven or eight miles, knocking down trees and chimneys, before finally coming to a stop. All passengers were injured, some badly, but none fatally. Its second voyage launched on October 18 of the same year, and was also perilous. Jules Godard, who was a passenger on this trip, is credited with saving the lives of Nadar and the other passengers.

Language of Materials


Existence and Location of Originals

Box 19

Physical Description



2 pages; 31.2 x 23.5 cm

General Note

Page from “The London Journal” with an excerpt from an article about Félix Nadar’s "Giant Balloon" in the lower right column.

General Note

The London Journal

Sources used for Biographical/Historical note

Bacon, John Mackenzie. The dominion of the air: the story of aerial navigation. (Cassell and company, limited, London, New York [etc.], 1902.), 101-103.

Rolt, L.T.C., The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning 1783-1903 (Walker, New York, 1966), 146-147.

Turnor, Hatton, Astra Castra; experiments and adventures in the atmosphere (London, Chapman and Hall, 1865), 266.

Repository Details

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
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