On January 9, 1793, Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Blanchard, made the first manned balloon flight in the United States. The trip began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with President George Washington and other government officials in attendance. Blanchard, accompanied by his little black dog, landed in New Jersey about 46 minutes after take-off.
Ballooning really began ten years earlier in France. Brothers, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, owned a paper factory and wondered if smoke might lift a balloon. After a lot of experimentation, they learned that paper and linen created a sturdy balloon and hot air would cause the balloon to lift.
Today’s balloons are made from nylon and other fire resistant material and come in all shapes, colors and designs. Balloons are used for sightseeing, special occasions, festivals and racing.