The origin of…Balloon

“Once you touch the biographies of human beings, the notion that political beliefs are logically determined collapses like a pricked balloon.” Walter Lippmann

Post 84 Balloon

Aztecs made balloons from animal intestines and they used them in offerings in honor of the gods.
The first balloons made of rubber were made in 1824 by Professor Michael Faraday. He used them for his experiments with hydrogen at the Royal Institution in London. In 1825 Thomas Hancock mass-marketed rubber balloons in the form of a kit containing liquid rubber and a syringe with which customers could make balloons themselves.

In 1847 J.G. Ingram produced the first vulcanized balloons in London. These are balloons that are unaffected by changes in temperature and are seen as the first modern toy balloons.
Following on vulcanized balloons came latex balloons, designed and produced by Neil Tillotson in the 1920´s in New England. His first balloon was one with a cat´s face and knowing he had something new and good, he put all his savings into the production of latex balloons. By the end of 1931 the Tillotson Rubber Company had manufactured five million cat-faced balloons with sales amounting to USD85.000 (the equivalent of USD1.2 million today).

Natural latex is preferred to synthetic rubber, because of its elasticity (It can be stretched to seven or eight times its original length and still return to its former shape).
Latex comes out of certain plants, like the Hevea tree from Brazil, and Malaysia is now the biggest producer in the world. It must be mixed with certain chemicals to obtain the desired rate of drying, thickness etc. and to slow the oxidation and decomposition.

1. a thin usually rubber bag that becomes larger when it is filled with air or gas
2. a picture or space in a cartoon that contains words that are spoken or thought by a character (source: Merriam Webster).

The English word balloon and Dutch ballon come from Italian pallone, large ball, from palla, ball, from Proto-Germanic *ball-, from Proto Indo Eureopan *bhel-, to blow/swell.
Spanish globo comes from Latin globus, ball/sphere/dense mass/globe.
Italian palloncino is the diminutive of palla, ball.

Balloon in other languages:
Dutch: de ballon
Spanish: el globo
Italian: il palloncino


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