History of Aeronautics ~ Chapter 2: Early hot-air balloons were nothing more than kites carrying lanterns. But in the late 1700s, during an era when all good things came from France, the Montgolfier brothers sent the first human beings into the air in defiance of gravity. A ceiling on human occupance of the earth had been broken and imaginations soared. What would you like for your ascent into heaven? A hot air balloon, perhaps? Linn Grove Cemetery.