Brothers Montgolfiers
Jacques-Etienne 1745-1799

Joseph 1740-1810

French paper manufaturers and inventors of the hot-air balloon.

In 1782 Jospeh Montgolfier devised a means of inflating a silk container with hot air by suspending it over fire. A year later the two brothers launched a hot air balloon, which was 9 meters in diameter and rose to 2000 meters, remaining aloft for ten minutes. Later that year Etienne launched several balloons in Paris; one flight lasted 25 minutes and carried two passengers.

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Samuel B.


American painter, but best known for his invention of the electric telegraph, conceived around 1832. He constructed an experimental version in 1835 with a home-made battery and an old clock-work to move the paper on which dots and dashes were to be recorded.

Morse exhibited his telegraph before businessmen and committees of Congress, but he met skepticism that any message could really be sent from city to city over wire. Finally, in 1844, he built an improved system and the first inter-city electromagnetic telegraph line in the world was ready. From the Capitol building in Washington, Morse sent a Biblical quotation as the first formal message on the line to Baltimore.

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Nansen, Fridtjof


The Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen was an author, oceanographer, statesman, and an explorer of the Arctic.

Nansen made his first voyage to Greenland waters in a sealing ship 1882, and in 1888-89 suceeded in crossing the Greenland icefield on skis from East to West. In 1893, he sailed to the Arctic in the ship 'Fram' which was deliberately allowed to drift north through the ice, a journey that took more than three years. When it was apparent that the Fram would not reach the North Pole, Nansen continued north on foot and reached 86.14' degrees N, the highest latitude then attained. He was forced to spend the winter on Frans Josef's Land where he eventually connected with a British expedition.

After World War I, Nansen became the League of Nations high commissioner for refugees, in which capacity he originated the Nansen passportfor refugees. For this work he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1923.

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Fridtjof Nansen Page


Newcomen, Thomas


English inventor of the atmos-pheric engine. He produced the first effective steam engine in 1712 and also invented an internal-condensing jet to produce a vacuum in the engine cylinder.

The steam engine can, with justification, be claimed as the single most important invention ofthe Industrial Revolution.

Newcomen has been over-shadowed by the better known Scotsman James Watt, who is still, incorrectly, known as the 'inventor' of the steam engine beginning in 1765.

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The Steam Engine


Nobel, Alfred B.


Swedish chemist and industrialist who invented dynamite and founded the Nobel prizes.

The Nobel prizes are awarded to those who have contributed most to the common good in the areas of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace (a sixth for Economics, was first awarded in 1969).

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