On this day in 1785, a Frenchman and an American journeyed together across the English Channel — in a balloon!
Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries made the reportedly 2.5-hour trek in a gas balloon.
According to History.com, “just before reaching the French coast, the two balloonists were forced to throw nearly everything out of the balloon,” because it was too heavy due to the anchors, silk-covered oars, and other supplies onboard. “Blanchard even threw his trousers over the side in a desperate, but apparently successful, attempt to lighten the ship.” Ha! Now that’s commitment to a cause.
The lightening of their load worked, and Blanchard and Jeffries became the first people to travel across the English Channel by air 230 years ago today.