Jean-Pierre-François Blanchard biography
Born on July 4, 1753, French inventor Jean-Pierre Blanchard crossed the English Channel by balloon in 1785. His early balloon flights spurred a time of "balloon-mania" in Europe and in the United States. Even clothing fashions took their cue, with exaggerated puffed sleeves and rounded skirts. He and his wife, Sophie Blanchard, exhibited widely throughout Europe. They both died from separate balloon accidents; Blanchard died in Switzerland on July 3, 1809.