"the great balloon Leppich was constructing"
Leppich's balloon design
Public DomainLeppich's balloon design


 Franz Leppich (1776-1818) was a German inventor and musician. In 1811 he offered an idea of a hot air balloon to Napoleon, who turned it down, so Leppich went to Russia, where his offer was met with more success. Rastopchin hired him to build a military hot air balloon for the defence of Moscow. At this time ballooning was in its infancy. Leppich began work in a secret shipyard near Moscow, heavily defending the site against spies from France. But, during trials, the balloon failed to inflate, and Leppich left Russia in disgrace.