Gay-Lussac et Biot

“[T]he greatest extent of the earth’s surface which has ever been seen at once by man, was that exposed to the view of MM. Biot and Gay-Lussac, in their celebrated aeronautic expedition to the enormous height of 5,000 feet; or rather less than five miles.”

— Sir John Herschel, A Treatise on Astronomy 1836: 27-28   


Gay-Lussac et Biot à 4.000 mètres de hauteur (1804). Paris : Romanet & cie., imp. edit., [between 1890 and 1900] Sheet of 10 uncut cards, individually captioned and numbered; issued as “Collection 476,” “2e série. [No. 5]” ; Tissandier collection. Wikimedia.

Note the anchor extending at lower left like a devil’s tale and recall that “a horny substance of suspicious nature was occasionally protruded through a rent in the bottom of [Hans Phaall’s] car...”. Alas, the tale predates the tail.


Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Jean-Baptiste Biot in their balloon on 24 August 1804. From Louis Figuier, Les Merveilles de la Science (4 vol.; Paris, 1867–70), 2, p. 537.




An advertisement for the Panorama, Leicester Square, London: showing the battle of Trafalgar. Coloured engraving by Lane, after H. A. Barker, 1806