The colourful and beautiful balloons have always managed to enchant us. Every one of us loves balloons; no matter how old we are. The colourful balloons indeed manage to fascinate each one of us. Every celebration has balloons involved. No birthday parties or marriage parties are complete without balloons. But have you ever given a thought on how balloons came into existence? Let us find out.
Hot-air balloons were invented in the same year as gas or latex balloons. Brothers Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier were paper makers in France. One day, they noticed when their kitchen gas was lit; pieces of paper flew in the air due to hot air that was emitted from the gas. They decided to experiment with paper bags. In June 1782, they made a bag out of cloth which was lined with paper. The lit a fire underneath and the balloon floated for a mile and a half before landing.
In Paris, J A C Charles heard about this experiment and in August, he sent up a small balloon filled with hydrogen. Later in 1783, the first balloon carried two people and the balloon travelled 8 km for 25 minutes. Post this, today, the balloons have undergone lot of changes and man is in a position to fly just like the birds.
The word balloon finds its origin from the French word, “ballon” which means a huge ball. Also, the word balloon has other origins like Latin word “ballone” which again refers to a ball or from old German word “balla” which also means a ball.
It is believed that the first balloon was discovered by Bartolomeu de Gusmao and it made its first public appearance during an exhibition in Lisbon. Also, it is believed that the first rubber balloon was discovered by the famous scientist Micheal Faraday in 1824. Faraday filled the balloon with hydrogen gas and called it caoutchoucs.
However, it was found that helium atoms easily escaped from the pores of the cumene or rubber balloons and hence the balloons were later treated with polymer solution like hi-float gels to keep the gas intact for longer.
Later in 1970s, foil balloons were introduced wherein aluminised plastic films were found to be more durable and less permeable and also helped in keeping the helium gas from escaping. However, it was found that foil balloons were less flexible as compared to rubber balloons.