September 5th, 1862 – Setting New Heights in Ballooning


On September 5th, 1862 the world record for highest altitude was broken by pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher and Henry Tracey Coxwell collecting data in their balloon.

James Glaisher Ballon

Glaisher was a founder member of the Meteorological Society (1850) and the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain (1866). He was president of the Royal Meteorological Society from 1867 to 1868. Glaisher was elected a member of The Photographic Society, later the Royal Photographic Society, in 1854 and served as the Society’s President between 1869-1874 and 1875-1892. He remained a member until his death.

James Glaisher 2

James Glaisher (left) and Henry Tracey Coxwell (right)

Between 1862 and 1866, usually with Henry Tracey Coxwell as his co-pilot, Glaisher made numerous ascents in order to measure the temperature and humidity of the atmosphere at its highest levels. His ascent on September 5th, 1862 broke the world record for altitude, but he passed out around 8,800 meters before a reading could be taken. One of the pigeons making the trip with him died. Estimates suggest that he rose to more than 9,500 meters and as much as 10,900 meters above sea-level.


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