Dylan Thuras is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Dylan is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Joshua Foer.
Paul Collins had a wonderful article
in the Jan 09 issue of New Scientist describing the history of metal balloons, and inventor Edmond Marey-Monge who in 1844 planned to launch his "ballon de cuivre" - a brass balloon.
"While Parisians bought their tickets to watch the giant orb take shape, the project also captured imaginations abroad. The merits of metal balloons were debated at length by armchair aeronauts in Britain, including one who wrote to Mechanics Magazine to suggest an "iron balloon" 400 foot (120 metres) wide as "not contrary to the spirit of the times" - though, he allowed, it might "gambol about the Earth's surface with great danger to life and limb of the human race, as well as terror to animal creation generally".
The height of success for the floating, metal crafts was the ZMC-2, or "Tin Bubble", which "could reach a speed of 100 kilometres an hour, and it put in 2200 flight hours before it was decommissioned in 1941." Metal balloons made a short comeback in 1977 at "The Great Lead Balloon Contest." From one of the contest entrants
"The third balloon, the Lead Zeppelin took the prize. It too broke its tether and was last seen heading toward Logan airport - After some laughter on the part of the tower personnel, they began tracking our IFO (Identified Flying Object) and it was last spotted by a commercial aircraft out over the Atlantic Ocean headed toward Europe!"
We may in fact see metal Zeppelins again, as plans for futuristic blimp the "Turtle" are for a 200mph, solar powered, gigantic metal ballon.
Link to the wonderful Paul Collins article (his histories are practically reason enough to subscribe to the magazine), a post at the ADL Chronicles the 1977 "The Great Lead Balloon Contest" and a link to a youtube of the Mythbusters who, in 2008, created and floated their very own lead ballon, and to the "Turtle" a planned eco-friendly metal blimp.
On Thursday May 26, Red Nose Day will return for the second year. It’s all about giving to children to fight hunger, sickness, and homelessness. In the video above, the most famous magician in the world, David Copperfield, has his own magical way of asking you to get involved. There’s going to be a two-hour TV show on […]
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
The Boing Boing Store’s Gift Guide is full of ideas for pretty much anyone in your life like hipster ice cub trays, Xbox controllers, Halo Boards, and even diamond necklaces. As always, all products in the Boing Boing Store come at great discounts, too. Shop by price bucket starting at under $20. Under $20:Bloxx Jumbo Ice Trays […]
Unlike traditional lighters, the SaberLight features an electronic plasma beam that’s both rechargeable and butane-free. This sleek lighter is even approved by TSA, so you’ll never be stuck buying lighters you’ll just have to throw away partially used. For some people, like me, this is a pretty big game-changer. The SaberLight’s beam is actually both hotter and cleaner […]
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]