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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Charles, Jacques Alexandre César

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CHARLES, Jacques Alexandre César, a French physicist, born at Beaugency, Nov. 12, 1746, died in Paris, April 7, 1823. He was remarkable for his skill in public experiments and demonstrations; and his lecture room, in which he popularized the electrical discovery of Franklin, was attended by one of the most brilliant assemblies of Paris. Montgolfier having sent up a balloon filled with rarefied air, Charles immediately constructed the first balloon ever made capable of holding hydrogen gas, with which an aëronaut successfully ascended, Aug. 2, 1783. Charles afterward made an aërostatic voyage himself, rising to the height of 7,000 ft. He invented the megascope and other ingenious optical instruments, was a member of the academy of sciences and librarian of the institute, and had one of the most beautiful cabinets in Europe.