Clayton's Ascent


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Hangar Overlook at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Clayton's Ascent


After 1835

Inventory Number


Physical Description

  • Oval-shaped, pasteboard bandbox covered in paper block-printed with distemper commemorating Richard Clayton, pioneering midwestern aeronaut. Clayton ascended from Cincinnati, Ohio on April 8, 1835 and landed nine and a half hours later in Monroe County, VA. He traveled 350 miles and broke the world record for the farthest distance traveled in a balloon. He continued to fly in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia for the next decade.
  • The sides of the box show a repeating scene of a balloon over a town and trees. Printing done in white, pink, black, red, and yellow paints on a blue background. 'Clayton's Ascent' is printed in the sky next to the balloons. Bottom of the box is stitched to the bottom edge of the sides, though this may not be original. Lid has a scene of horses and a carriage in front of a building and trees. There is no balloon in this scene. The sides of the lid are covered in strips of paper with decorative floral motifs. The interior of the lid is lined with pages from 'The Drawing Room Companion' newspaper. No date is visible on the pages. The interior of the box is unlined.

Credit Line

Gift of the Norfolk Charitable Trust




Overall: 50.8 × 30.5 × 39.7cm (20 × 12 × 15 5/8 in.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum



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