October 19, 1874 The first airborne wedding that is verifiable took place above the vicinity of Cincinnati, Ohio, in what one newspaper account characterized as “a matrimonial sensation.” Mary Elizabeth Walsh and Charles Samuel Colton exchanged vows in a hot-air balloon named “P.T. Barnum.” (Both the bride and groom worked for the legendary showman’s traveling circus.) ... Continue Reading →

October 13, 1860 A milestone in aviation occurred in the skies above Boston, Massachusetts, when James Wallace Black took photographs of the city while traveling above it in a hot-air balloon. Black, a one-time artist who set aside his palettes and paint brushes to pursue instead the still-nascent endeavor of photography, flew over Boston in a... Continue Reading →

August 24, 1907   A hot-air balloon called the Ben Franklin made a widely publicized maiden flight of more than six hours that began in Philadelphia. This balloon was the largest to be built in the United States up to that time, and its basket could carry a maximum of 3,200 pounds (1,452 kilograms). The... Continue Reading →

May 8, 1944 Balloonist and aviation pioneer Albert Leo Stevens died at the age of 67 at the home of his brother Frank in Bardonia, New York. Born in Cleveland, Albert developed a strong interest in human flight at a young age. Stevens was only 12 when he started taking to the skies in a... Continue Reading →

Federico Fernández Cavada was born sometime around 1831 in the city of Cienfuegos on the southern coast of Cuba. After his father’s death in 1838, his U.S.-born mother brought him and his brothers with her to live in Philadelphia. Fernández Cavada, who became both an engineer and topographer, joined the Union Army shortly after the... Continue Reading →

Talk about an unexpected detour . . .  Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, a scientist and inventor who also possessed a strong passion for travel via air balloons, found himself inadvertently flying smack into potential wartime intrigue and danger. Lowe, who was born in New Hampshire, in 1832, possessed a tremendous curiosity about the world around him... Continue Reading →

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