Friday, July 3, 2015

Balloon Gondola



Today's picture shows the gondola of Giffard's Balloon we have been discussing the last few days. This picture also was taken in 1878, and it shows how the general public could purchase a ticket and go aloft to see spectacular views of paris from the air. From this picture it looks like the balloon could accommodate literally dozens of passengers at a time. Given that the balloon remained tethered, it was retrieved by cables which remained connected to the balloon. Hence, the balloon was pulled down without the need to vent the precious lifting gas. I would imagine this system would allow many flights per day. Also, since the gas was not vented, I would imagine a ride could be somewhat affordable. I was not able to find how long these rides lasted, or what they cost.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Aerial View of Paris, 1878



This is an incredible Aerial View of Paris, taken in 1878. It was taken from Giffard's Balloon, which we showed yesterday. What an awesome ride this must have been for someone living in the 1870's. As we mentioned yesterday, the balloon appears to have been set up as an amusement park style ride. Anyone with the money for a ride could enjoy the spectacular view shown above.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Henry Giffard Balloon



This is a picture of Henry Giffard's balloon. From the people that can bee seen in the picture, you can see that this is an enormous balloon.  Giffard was one of the pioneers of ballooning, and this picture was taken in 1878 in Paris. Notice the huge gondola beneath the balloon. This appears to be sort of an Amusement Park style ride. To the left of the balloon under the canopy is a large cable mechanism. The balloon remained tethered, and would allow riders to go up in the gondola, enjoy spectacular aerial views of Paris, and then be pulled back to the ground by the cables. Amazing technology for this day and age.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Professor Thaddeus Lowe's Civil War Balloon



Yesterday we showed a picture of balloon Pioneer Professor Thaddeus Lowe. Today we show a picture of the ground operations as his balloon is being prepared for flight. His balloons used a hydrogen gas as the lifting gas. The gas was produced by a process of partial combustion of coal or coke. One assumes that this combustion and generation is taking place in the two wagons at the left of the picture. This picture was taken at the Battle of Fair Oaks, where Lowe's flight provided valuable reconnaissance. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Professor Thaddeus Lowe



This is an amazing picture of a man that could be considered the first professional aviator. The picture shows Professor Thaddeus Lowe. The picture was taken around 1861. Professor Lowe had a practical lighter than air balloon system that could take men aloft in a basket under the balloon. Professor Lowe was used extensively for surveillance in the Civil War. It was an incredible advantage for Union Forces to be able to send Professor Lowe and his associates aloft to go up and peer over at confederate troop positions. It was the first example of aerial reconnaissance. They could go up, see confederate positions, and create sketches of those positions, and then give the Union Forces incredible intelligence.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Balloon Flight



Today's picture shows Albert Leo Stevens after his balloon is aloft. Yesterday we saw him preparing for launch. In this picture we see the entire balloon, and we can tell that in fact the balloon is a gas balloon, not a hot air balloon. The picture was taken in 1911, so most likely the balloon was filled with Hydrogen. Hydrogen has greater lift than helium, but of course one must be concerned that Hydrogen is a highly explosive gtas.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Balloon Flight



This week we will look at some of the early days of flight. I love this picture from 1911, showing a balloonist. I do not see any signs of a burner onboard, so will assume that this was a helium or hydrogen filled balloon. In any event, it really looks like an exciting scene. The balloonist is Albert Leo Stevens.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marshall Texas



This is an interesting picture from Marshall, Texas taken in 1939. The picture shows farmers picking up supplies in town, and loading them into a wagon. You can see several other wagons in the picture. So, in the late 30's it looks like people were still using horse and wagon, but I imaine it died out pretty quickly after this.