Société Aérostatique et Météorologique de France

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The Société Aérostatique et Météorologique de France was re-founded on founded 17 May 1865, taking its name from an earlier group founded by Dupuis-Delcourt. Its first annual report, covering the partial years 1865-1866, claimed Dupuis-Delacourt as its founder, and the second annual report, covering the work done 1866-1867, solidified this claim with the imprint "15th year."

In 1866, a cooperative relationship was established with the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain and in June 1868, Abel Hureau de Villeneuve represented the French Society at the British society's exhibition at the Crystal Palace and looked after the interests of the French exhibits there. Meanwhile,in April 1868, the Society's official publication was started under the editorship of Abel Hureau de Villeneuve; with the permission of "Nadar," the title of his earlier publication L'Aeronaute was adopted. This second L'Aeronaute continued to appear, first monthly and later weekly, to 31 Dec. 1910.

To include within its purview heavier-than-air machines as well as balloons, the Société Aérostatique et Météorologique de France (Aerostatic and Meteorologic Society of France),changed its name in January 1869 to La Société Aéronautique et Météorologique de France. It appears that there were always still those who favored the original name and purpose and on 25 July 1872, the officers who were of that mind resigned and the society collapsed. Those who resigned formed a new organization on 12 August 1872, the Société Française de Navigation Aérienne (SFNA).

L'Aéronaute remained the official journal of the renamed Société Aéronautique et Métérologique de France and its editor Abel Hureau de Villeneuve was its secretary general. Those who resigned 25 July 1872 included J. Croce-Spinelli and Motard, vice presidents; Abel Hureau de Villeneuve, general secretary; A. Saco, F. Michel, and O. Frion, associate secretaries; and Félix Caron, treasurer. Among those who did not resign was the society's president, Gustave-Louis-Marie de Ponton d'Amécourt, who, in 1865, was president of its predecessor, the Société Aérostatique et Météorologique. Amécourt eventually associated with the Société Française de Navigation Aérienne (SFNA), for he was its president in 1877.


Organization names Society Aeronautic and Meteorologic of France ; La Société Aéronautique et Météorologique de France, [For prior history see Society Aerostatic and Meteorologic of France ; Société Aérostatique et Météorologique de France (2)]
Entity type
Country France
City Paris
Affiliated with
Scope National
Started aero 1865 ; name changed 1869
Ended aero 1872, August
Key people
Wikidata id

an earlier society, with the same name??

Formed as a society for ballooning, the Société Aérostatique et Météorologique de France appears to be the first aeronautical society to be formed. It was founded by Dupuis Delcourt about October 1852. The exact date of its demise is not clear, though it appears to have existed at least as late as 1860.

The rules provided that the Committee meet four times a year on the first Sunday in January, April, July, and October and that the annual general meeting was 1 May each year. The Society published a quarterly Bulletin that ended with No. 4, July-Oct. 1853. The Bulletin printed several communications from Sir George Cayley. By September 1853, the membership numbered more than 100.

In 1853 the society promulgated a resolution to fund a long-duration balloon voyage for scientific/meteorological purposes, with funding of 500,000 francs. (Perhaps we can infer that this resolution was sent to members with an eye to gaining their approval and financial support.) It received a number of replies, including one from George Cayley, who suggested that making long-term observations from a captive balloon would be safer, cheaper, and more effective.

Extensive records from the early society are available in the Dupuis-Delcourt annex to the Tissandier collection at the Library of Congress.


  • 28 Journal of the RAeS 644-646 (1924); 2004 Cailliez 198; Hallion, 2003, p. 115; Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. 55, p. 784
  • Organization
  • Organization names=Society Aerostatic and Meteorologic of France : Societe Aerostatique et Meteorologique de France (1)
  • Country=France
  • City=Paris
  • Scope=National
  • Started aero=1852
  • Ended aero=1860?
  • Address=21 Rue de L'Oratoire-des-Champs-Elysees, Paris (1852-1853).