Élisabeth Thible

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Élisabeth Thible, or Elizabeth Tible[1], born in Lyon was the first woman on record to fly in an untethered hot air balloon.[2][3][4] On June 4, 1784, eight months after the first manned balloon flight, Thible flew with Mr. Fleurant on board a hot air balloon christened La Gustave in honour of King Gustav III of Sweden's visit to Lyon.


Monsieur Fleurant originally planned to fly the balloon with Count Jean-Baptiste de Laurencin, but the count gave his position on The Gustave to Élisabeth Thible.[5][Note 1]

When the balloon left the ground Thible, dressed as the Roman goddess Minerva, and Fleurant sang two duets from Monsigny's La Belle Arsène, a celebrated opera of the time. The flight lasted 45 minutes, covered four kilometres and achieved an estimated height of 1,500 meters. It was witnessed by King Gustav III of Sweden in whose honour the balloon was named. During the bumpy landing Thible turned an ankle as the basket hit the ground. She was credited by Fleurent with the success of the flight both because she fed the balloon's fire box en route and by exhibiting her remarkable courage.[5]

Private life[edit]

Little is known of Madame Thible, she is described as the abandoned spouse (épouse délaissée) of a Lyon merchant.[6] No record of her survives as a professional opera singer.



  1. ^ Count Jean-Baptiste de Laurencin (1740–1812) was one of the six passengers on the traumatic flight of the Montgolfier balloon Flesselles on 19 January 1784. The twelve-minute flight, piloted by Joseph Montgolfier, had ended dramatically when the balloon started to tear and smoulder. Although all passengers were unhurt, some attributed the accident as the reason the Count de Laurencin gave Élisabeth Thible his spot.


  1. ^ Tible, Elizabeth (1784). "Lettre à Mme ***[relatant les détails du voyage que j'ai fait dans les airs le 4 juin]" [Letter to Mrs *** [about my air travel the 4th of June]]. Journal encyclopédique ou universel, dédié à Son Alt. Sérénissime Mgr. le Duc de Bouillon Etc. Etc. Etc. (in French). 7 (1): 289–294. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  2. ^ Gene Nora Jessen, The Powder Puff Derby of 1929, pg xi
  3. ^ Ernst Probst, - Königinnen der Lüfte in Frankreich (Queens of the skies), France 2010, Page 61 "Élisabeth Thible (Tible) The first passenger of a Montgolfier"
  4. ^ Justin D. Murphy -Military Aircraft, Origins To 1918 2005 - Page 6 "In February 1784, Paolo Andreani, Agostino Gerli, and Carlo Gerli ascended in a Montgolfière outside Milan. On 4 June 1784, Élisabeth Thible became the first female aeronaut when she ascended over Lyons."
  5. ^ a b Gazette d’Amsterdam, June 25, 1784 and Journal des savants, November 1784, pp. 760-762
  6. ^ Philippe Buron Pilâtre Pilâtre de Rozier: un Lorrain d'exception, 1754-1785 2006 - "Visiblement encore choqué par sa première expérience, Laurencin trouve habile de proposer à la très belle Madame Elisabeth Thible, épouse délaissée d'un grand commerçant de Lyon, de devenir la première femme aéronaute."

Other sources[edit]

  • Jutta Rebmann: Als Frau in die Luft ging. Die Geschichte der frühen Pilotinnen (Women went into the air. The history of the early pilots.) Sieglitz. Precinct. ISBN 3-7987-0361-2