Saturday Nov. 21, 2020’s Smile for the Day: The Hot Air Balloon

On this Day:

Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier, prosperous paper manufacturers (a high-tech industry at the time), were experimenting with making balloons in France before ballooning had ah, taken off. On this day, Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes, a French military officer, made the first free ascent in a hot air Montgolfier balloon. The pair flew from the centre of Paris to the suburbs, about 5.5 miles (9 km), in 25 minutes. 
Benjamin Franklin, who happened to be in France at the time, wrote in his journal about witnessing the balloon take off:

“We observed it lift off in the most majestic manner. When it reached around 250 feet [76 m] in altitude, the intrepid voyagers lowered their hats to salute the spectators. We could not help feeling a certain mixture of awe and admiration.” (per

First, a Story:

Having observed many hot air balloons early in the morning, I think they are early risers.

Second, a Song:

What could be more appropriate than a video of balloonists set to the song “Up, Up and Away” by the 5th Dimension. Enjoy!


Thought for the Day:

“If you’re embarking around the world in a hot-air balloon, don’t forget the toilet paper.” – Richard Branson

P.S. Further to yesterday’s Sherlock Holmes Smile, Professor Professor John Zeleznikow from Australia writes:

“Arthur Conan Doyle was a medical student at University of Edinburgh.  He was taught forensics by Joseph Bell.

Sherlock Holmes was modelled on Bell.  We named our Centre at University of Edinburgh Law School (I was director) as the Joseph Bell Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning.

Be well,  John”


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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