King, Samuel Archer
- David R. Griffiths
King, Samuel Archer (09 April 1828–03 November 1914), balloonist, was born in Tinicum, Pennsylvania, the son of Isaac B. King, a physician; his mother’s name is unknown. In 1859 he married Margaret Roberts; they had two children.
Little is known of his early life except that he began his aeronautical career inauspiciously in 1851 with a near-fatal balloon ascent in Philadelphia. Undaunted, King tried again the next day, this time with more success. Eventually he totaled more than 450 flights as he thrilled thousands at Fourth of July exhibitions and state fairs. But King was more than a showman; he was an innovator widely credited with being the top aeronaut (balloonist) in the days before ...