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Commemorative Medal by Charles Trotin- Henri Giffard's Public Balloon Flights c.1878
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This nice and rare commemorative medal was made by the famous French engraver & medalist Charles Trotin and dates to c1878. It was sold (or given?) to members of the Parisian public who ventured up in a giant fixed-line hot air balloon that was the brainchild of the aeronautical pioneer Henri Giffard. In 1852 Giffard became the first person in the world to fly a steerable airship when he flew 17 miles from the Place De l'Etoile in Central Paris to Elancourt on the suburbs of the city at a snail's pace of 6 miles per hour. Spurred on by his success Giffard would spend the rest of his life dedicated to the dream of flying, hoping one day to produce a giant airship for paying guests. Sadly, despite the many awards and adulation he received, Giffard never managed to secure the financial backing he needed for such a venture. The closest he was able to come to his dream was to produce a giant multi-person hot air balloon (tethered to the ground) which offered short up and down 'flights' to members of the public during the Paris International Exhibition of 1878. Amazingly the basket could reputedly hold up to 50 people at one time and of course would have been the first time any of these people would have left the ground, so the excitement must have been great. The view looking down on Paris was also thankfully recorded by contemporary photographers. This medal was produced as a commemorative token of these public flights. While it is not known exactly how many of these medals were struck it was probably only in the low thousands at most with few turning up now.
Historic Tech has clarified that the Commemorative Medal by Charles Trotin- Henri Giffard's Public Balloon Flights c.1878 (LA355206) is genuinely of the period declared with the date/period of manufacture being c1878
This piece is offered in very good original condition and retains its ribbon and gilt finish. There is a spot of wear to the gilt next to the balloon and another on the rim only.
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This Commemorative Medal by Charles Trotin- Henri Giffard's Public Balloon Flights c.1878 is located in Royal Wootton Bassett, United Kingdom