Punch,  59 (1870), 183.

Par Ballon Monté





Aeronautics, War, Military Technology, Amusement, Meteorology, Measurement, Analytical Chemistry

    Responding to news that the French are using balloons in their war with Prussia, begins by telling balloon pioneers Michel J de Montgolfier and Jean F Pilatre de Rozier that their invention, 'That the world scorn'd as useless', has 'At last proved its claim / To all that you asked for it'. Notes that the balloon initially 'Seemed, for no higher purpose' than entertainment, raising Mme Poitevin, Charles Green, and elephants into the air to draw crowds at pleasure gardens. However, now it is used to measure 'The infinite of space, / Or sift the fluffy cloudlets / That speckle heaven's bright face' and to 'Take soundings of the atmosphere, / Or analyse sky-blue', and now it enables James Glaisher and Henry T Coxwell to record 'in weight and measure / The secrets of the air'. Balloons are now used to evade 'Prussia's Iron grasp' that grips Paris, models such as the Géant evading the 'Prussian bullets' and riding over towers and tides. Points out that balloons can bear 'weightier freight', noting the balloon that constituted French minister of the interior Léon M Gambetta's 'chariot of estate'. However, the author warns that Gambetta's balloon quickly collapsed as 'hopes builds France thereon'. Concludes by noting the connection between the rise and fall of 'hopes and trusts' and the corresponding trajectory of balloons.

© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020

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