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Who invented Party Balloons?
Balloons can be found in every walk of life. From parties to weddings,festivals to graduations to New year's Eve almost every celebration involves balloons. But have you ever question how they are invented?
Balloons are commonly made out of rubber,latex,aluminised plastic, chloroprene,or a nylon fabric and inflated with air or helium. They come in a wide variety of shapes,sizes and colours.
The word 'balloon' has numerous origin. In French 'Ball' or 'large ball' is translated into 'ballon' and 'balla' in German. The Italians called a 'large balloon' a 'pallon'. It is also possible that 'ballon' originated from Latin word 'ballone'.
Balloons might look like a modern invention but their creation actually started centuries ago.
Balloons had made an appearance far earlier than the 1800's, centuries before variations have been noted. In fact animals played large part in the history of balloons. The Aztecs (1300 to 1521) created the first balloon sculptures using cat intestines to present to their gods as a sacrifice.
We should be glad that nowadays our party balloons are made of rubber and not animals body parts.
Invention of First Modern Balloon
The first modern balloon was invented by Professor Michael Faraday in 1824 at the Royal institution in London for use in his experiments with hydrogen. He made his balloon by cutting two pieces of raw rubber called Caoutchouc (French word for rubber), laying them one on top of the other and pressing the edges together. The tacky rubber welded automatically. To prevent the opposing surfaces joining together,he rubbed the inside of the balloon with flour.
Manufacturing of Latex Toy Balloon
Toy balloons were introduced by pioneer rubber manufacturer Thomas Hancock the following year (1825) in the form of a do-it-yourself kit consisting of a bottle of rubber and a condensing syringe.
Manufacturing of Vulcanized Toy Balloon
In 1847 J.G Ingram of London began manufacturing what we now regard as the prototype modern you balloons made out of vulcanized latex rubber extracted from trees,which are unaffected by changes in temperature.
Modern Latex Balloons
In 1921, method of retarding the coagulation of liquid latex was developed, which meant that it could be transported around the world without degrading. This in turn led to new processes for making rubber goods. In the early 1920s,a number of patents were granted in England for processes that allowed molds to be dipped in liquid latex. The first modern latex balloon was created in 1931 by Neil Tillotson in his attic. He sold 15 of his"Tilly Cat" balloons (shaped like a cat's head, complete with whiskers printed on with dye) for the Patriot's day parade in Massachusetts in April 1931,and formed a company that still makes balloons today.
Modelling of Balloon
People discovered that they were able to twist and shape balloons in the late 30s and early 40s and so balloon modelling was born.
Balloon modelling is the art of twisting special modelling balloons into nearly any given shape such as in the shape of animals or many other objects. Someone who create twisted balloon sculptures are called Twisters,Balloon Benders and Balloon Artists. Twisters usually perform in restaurants, at parties and fairs. The balloons used for twisting are too porous and the designs are generally too heavy for their size for helium to elevate.
Beginning in the late 1970s,advances in the technology led to the introduction of foil balloons. Foil balloons are thin,non-stretchable, aluminised plastic film balloons. These balloons have attractive shiny reflective surfaces and are often printed with colorful pictures and patterns for gifts and parties. Their ability of holding shape without distorting and float longer when filled with helium gas makes them unique. But the foil balloons have been criticized for interfering with power lines.
Balloons are now manufactured by the millions in a number of countries. They are available in all types of shapes,sizes,and colours and have become a reality at parties and celebrations.
Rubber and foil balloons are not only types used for celebrations. Sky lanterns (a small hot air balloon made of paper,at the bottom there is a small opening where fire is suspended) have been popular for many centuries in East Asia. They were used for military signaling,but now at many festivals they were launched by hundreds as a form of celebration. They're also a known fire hazard,and have been banned in some countries.
© 2021 Nian
Nian (author) from Pakistan on June 13, 2021:
Thankyou Misbah for your lovely comment. You shared a very funny moment.
Many blessings and love!
Nian (author) from Pakistan on June 13, 2021:
Thankyou Rozlin for your lovely comment.
Blessings and love!
Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on June 13, 2021:
This is an interesting and educational article about the history of balloons and different kinds of balloons. Well, I've always been afraid of blowing balloons because they quite often burst in my face while being blown... Lol!
Thanks for sharing, Eman
Many blessings to you, dear sister
Rozlin from UAE on June 12, 2021:
This is an interesting article, Eman. My two year old loves balloons. I learnt a lot from your hub about balloons. Thanks for sharing.