Jacques Alexandre César Charles (November 12, 1746 – April 7, 1823) was a French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist.

Charles was born in Beaugency-sur-Loire, and made the first flight of a hydrogen balloon on August 27, 1783.This balloon was destroyed by terrified peasants when it landed outside of Paris. On December 1, 1783, a mere ten days after the manned flight of the Montgolfier hot-air balloon, Charles with Ainé Roberts, ascended to a height of about 1,800 feet (550 m) in his balloon "La Charlière".

Montgolfier's principal scientific collaborator was M. Charles, ... who had been the first to propose the gas produced by vitriol instead of the burning, dampened straw and wood that he had used in earlier flights. Charles himself was also eager to ascend but had run into a firm veto from the King, who from the earliest reports had been observing the progress of the flights with keen attentiveness. Anxious about the perils of a maiden flight, the King had then proposed that two criminals be sent up in a basket, at which Charles and his colleagues became indignant.

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