Henri Giffard’s Dirigible
Friday Sept 24th Mr Ames & Oakes Angier went
to Boston and are going to New York for New
Jersey to night I have been to work again about
house all day ironing and this that & tother
Catharine got my quilt out and has been
mending some stockings Mr Rathbourne
returned to P[rovidence] this afternoon Oliver carried him
to Mansfield They went to Canton this afternoon
Today Evelina saw her husband and eldest son depart for New York and New Jersey, by way of Boston; that helps explain the extra laundry day yesterday. The men were off on shovel business and the fact that Oakes Angier went along suggests that he was enjoying good health. He was also learning the family trade.
Back at the house in North Easton, domesticity reigned, as usual. Even Evelina couldn’t quite keep track of all the little tasks she was addressing. It was simply “this that & tother.” Mending, ironing, quilting went on. Her son Oliver was riding here and there with his houseguest, Mr. Rathbourne. It looks like the only son who was present at the shovel works was the youngest, Frank Morton.
Miles away from anyplace that any Ameses were traveling today, a steam-powered dirigible, lifted by hydrogen, rose in the air for the very first time. Hot air balloons had already ascended the skies in various places and for various lengths of time. The airship was new and different by virtue of its shape, design, and engine. Created by a Frenchman, Henri Giffard, the airship made its maiden voyage from Paris to Elancourt. It traveled 17 miles. The winds were too strong for it to return to Paris, as planned, but Giffard was nonetheless able to steer and turn the airship in its course. It was the shape of things to come.