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The Great Balloon of Nassau

The Great Balloon of Nassau.jpg A view of WestminsterThumbnailsThe Embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover, 1520A view of WestminsterThumbnailsThe Embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover, 1520A view of WestminsterThumbnailsThe Embarkation of Henry VIII. from Dover, 1520

he vessel selected for that famous cruise was The Great Balloon of Nassau, then recently built by Mr. Green and representing all that his skill and experience could devise. It was of pear shape, formed of the finest crimson and white silk, “spun, wove and dyed expressly for the purpose,” and comprising when distended a volume of 85,000 cubic feet. From its stout balloon-ring six feet in diameter was suspended a wicker car measuring nine feet long by four wide, having a seat across either end, and a cushioned bottom to serve as a bed, if such should be needed. Across the middle of the car was a plank supporting a windlass for raising or lowering the guide-rope, that is a heavy rope which could be trailed over land, or water, to keep the balloon at a nearly constant level without expenditure of ballast, and to check its speed on landing. This valuable device invented by Mr. Green in 1820, was now to receive adequate trial, which, indeed, formed one of the chief purposes of the cruise. Other paraphernalia of the voyage were food and drink, warm clothing, lamps, trumpets, telescopes, barometers, a quicklime coffee-heater, a grapnel and cable, and a ton of sand ballast in bags.

Author
Aërial Navigation
A Popular Treatise on the Growth of Air Craft and on Aëronautical Meteorology
By Albert Francis Zahm
Published in 1911
Available from gutenberg.org
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