1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coxwell, Henry Tracey

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COXWELL, HENRY TRACEY (1810-1900), English aeronaut, was born at Wouldham, Kent, on the 2nd of March 1819, the son of a naval officer. He was educated for the army, but became a dentist. From a boy he had been greatly interested in ballooning, then in its infancy, but his own first ascent was not made until 1844. In 1848 he became a professional aeronaut, making numerous public ascents in the chief continental cities. Returning to London, he gave exhibitions from the Cremorne and subsequently from the Surrey Gardens. By 1861 he had made over 400 ascents. In 1862 in company with Dr James Glaisher, he attained the greatest height on record, about 7 m. His companion became insensible, and he himself, unable to use his frost-bitten hands, opened the gas-valve with his teeth, and made an extremely rapid but safe descent. The result of this and other aerial voyages by Coxwell and Glaisher was the making of some important contributions to the science of meteorology. Coxwell was most pertinacious in urging the practical utility of employing balloons in time of war. He says: “I had hammered away in The Times for little less than a decade before there was a real military trial of ballooning for military purposes at Aldershot.” His last ascent was made in 1885, and he died on the 5th of January 1900.

See his My Life and Balloon Experiences (1887).