Aeronautics First Person Who Rose
balloon feet ascents ascent ascended time miles temperature glaisher earth
AERONAUTICS FIRST PERSON WHO ROSE The first person who rose into the air from British ground appears to have been Mr J. Tytler,1 who ascended from the Comely Gardens, Edinburgh, on August 27, 1784, in a fire-balloon of his own construction. He descended on the road to Restalrig, about half-a-mile from the place where he rose. A brief account appeared in a letter, under date August 27, in the London Chronicle, and we have seen a picture of the balloon copied in some journal from a "ticket in the British Museum." Mr Tytler's claims were for a long time entirely overlooked, the honour being invariably assigned to Lunardi, till attention was called to them by Mr Monck Mason in 1838. After Lunardi's successful ascents in 1785, Mr Tytler addressed a set of verses to him (quoted in Astra Castra, p. 108), in a note, to which he gives a modest account of his own "misfortunes," describing his two "leaps." This is, perhaps, the most correct name for them, as his apparatus having been damaged at different times, he merely heated the air in the balloon, and went up without any furnace, being seated in an ordinary basket for carrying earthenware. lie reached a height of from 350 to 500 feet.
feet in circumference, and was exposed to the public view at the Lyceum in the Strand, where it was visited by upwards of 20,000 people. It was his original intention to have ascended from Chelsea Hospital, but the conduct of a crowd at a garden at Chelsea, which destroyed the fire-balloon of a Frenchman named Dc Moret, who announced an ascent on August 11, but was unable to keep his word, led to the withdrawal of the leave that had been granted. Ultimately, after some difficulties had been arranged, he was permitted to ascend from the Artillery ground, and on September 15, 1784, the inflation with hydrogen gas took place. It was intended that Mr Biggin, an English gentleman, should accompany Lunardi; but the crowd becoming impatient, the latter judged it prudent to ascend with the balloon only partially full rather than risk a longer delay, and accordingly Mr Biggin was obliged to leave the car. Lunardi therefore ascended alone, in presence of the Prince of Wales and an enormous crowd of spectators. He took up with him a pigeon, a clog, and a cat, and the balloon was provided with oars, by means of which he hoped to raise or lower it at pleasure. Shortly after starting, the pigeon escaped, and one of the oars became broken and fell to the ground. In about an hour and a half he descended at South Mimms, in Hertfordshire, and landed the eat, which had suffered from the cold: he then ascended again, and descended, after the lapse of about three-quarters of an hour, at Standon, near Ware, where he had great difficulty in inducing the peasants to come to his assistance; but at length a young woman, taking hold of one of the cords, urged the men to follow her example, which they then did. The excitement caused by this ascent was immense, and Lunardi at once became the star of the hour. lie was presented to the king, and was courted and flattered on all sides. To show the enthusiasm displayed by the people during his ascent, he tells himself, in his sixth letter, how a lady, mistaking the oar which fell for himself, was so affected by his supposed destruction that she died in a few clays; but, on the other hand, he says he was told by the judges "that he had certainly saved the life of a young man who might possibly be reformed, and be to the public a compensation for the death of the lady;" for the jury were deliberating on the fate of a criminal, whom they must ultimately have condemned, when the balloon appeared, and every one became inattentive, and to save time they gave a verdict of acquittal, and the whole court came out to view the balloon. The king also was in conference with his ministers; but on hearing that the balloon was passing, lie broke tip the discussion, remarking that they might resume their deliberations, but that perhaps they might not see Lunardi again; upon which he, Mr Pitt, and the other ministers viewed the balloon through telescopes. The balloon was afterwards exhibited in the Pantheon. In the latter part of the following year (1785) Lunardi made several very successful ascents from Kelso, Edinburgh, and Glasgow (in one of which he traversed a distance of 110 miles): these he has described in a second series of letters. He subsequently returned to Italy, where we believe he still followed the practice of aerostation, and made many ascents. He died on July 31, 1806, at Lisbon, according to the Gentleman's Magazine, but a contemporary newspaper gives Genoa as the place, and adds that he died in a state of very great indigence.
Lunardi's example was soon followed by others, and on October 16, 1784, Blanchard ascended from Little Chelsea with Mr Sheldon, and having deposited the latter at Sunbury, rose again alone, and descended at Romney Marshes. On November 12, Mr James Sadler, sen., ascended from Oxford, and there is every reason to believe that he made a previous ascent from the same place on October 12, four days previous to Blanchard's (see Monck Mason, p. 274, where it is stated that he attempted to ascend in a fire-balloon on September 12, but that the balloon was burnt), On November 30, 1784, Blanchard again ascended, accom panied this time by Dr J. Jeffries, an American physician. On January 4, 1785, Mr Harper ascended from Birmingham; and on January 7, Blanchard and Dr Jeffries achieved the feat of crossing the Channel from Dover to Calais. At seven minutes past one the balloon left Dover Castle, and in their passage they had a most magnificent view of both shores. When about one-third across they found themselves descending, and threw out every available thing from the boat or car. When about three-quarters across they were descending again, and had to throw out not only the anchor and cords, but also to strip and throw away part of their clothing, after which they found they were rising, and their last resource, viz., to cut away the car, was rendered unnecessary. As they approached the shore the balloon rose, describing a magnificent arch high over the land. They descended in the forest of Guinnes.
On March 23, 1785, Count Zambeccari, who had, as we have seen, launched the first balloon from English ground, ascended for the first time with Admiral Vernon from London. Shortly afterwards he returned to his, own country, and there applied himself assiduously to the practice of aerial navigation. He twice, in 1803 and 1804, descended into the Adriatic, and both times only escaped after undergoing much danger. Descending in a fire-balloon on September 21, 1812, after a voyage from Bologna, the shock of the grapnel catching in a tree caused the balloon to catch fire ; and to save themselves from being burnt, Zambeccari and Iris companion, Signor Bonaga, leaped from the car. The former was killed on the spot, but the latter, though fearfully injured, escaped with his life.
On June 15, 1785, Pilatre de Lazier made his last fatal voyage from Boulogne. It was his intention to have repeated the exploit of Blanchard. curd Jeffries in the reverse direction, and have crossed from Boulogne to England. For this purpose he had contrived a double balloon, which he expected would combine the advantages of both kinds - a fire-balloon, 10 feet in diameter, being placed underneath a gas-balloon of 37 feet in diameter, so that by increasing or diminishing the fire in the former it might be possible to ascend or descend without waste of gas. Rozier was accompanied by M. P. A. Romain, and for rather less than half-an-hour after the aerostat ascended all seemed to be going on well, when suddenly the whole apparatus was seen in flames, and the unfortunate adventurers came to the ground from the supposed height of more than 3000 feet. Rozier was killed on the spot, and Romain only survived about ten minutes. A monument was erected on the place where they fell, which was near the sea-shore, about four miles from the starting-point. The Marquis de la Maisonfort had accompanied Rozier to Boulogne, intending to ascend with him, but M. Romaiu there insisted on a prior promise. Either the upper balloon must have been reached by the flames, and the gas taken fire, or the gas must have poured clown into the lower balloon, and so have caused the explosion.
We must not omit to mention that on June 4, 1784, Madame' Thible ascended from Lyons in a fire-balloon with M. Fleurand, in the presence of King Gustavus of Sweden, then travelling under the name of Count Haga. Madame Thible is very likely the only woman who ever ascended in a fire-balloon. The first Englishwoman who ever ascended into the air was Mrs Sage, who accompanied Mr Biggin in his voyage from London on June 29, 1785.
Accounts arc given of an ascent at Constantinople, made in the presence of the Sultan, by a Persian physician, accompanied by two Bostangis, early in the year 178G, who, crossing the sea which divides Europe from Asia, descended about 30 leagues from the coast.
We have now given a brief account of all the noteworthy voyages that took place within the first two or three years after the discovery of the balloon by Moutgolfier. Ascents were multiplied from this time onwards, and it is impossible to give even a list of the many hundreds that have taken place since: this omission is, however, of slight importance, as henceforth the balloon became little better ' than a toy,•let up to amuse people at A.<3.3 or other public occasions. When the first ascents were made in France, the glow of national vanity was lighted up, and the most brilliant expectations were felt with regard to aerostation, and the glory to the nation that would accrue therefrom. These anticipations have not been realised, and the balloon at this moment has received no great improvement since the time of Charles, except the substitution of ordinary coal-gas for hydrogen, which has rendered the inflation of a balloon at any gas-works a comparatively simple matter, bearing in mind the elaborate contrivances required for the generation of hydrogen in sufficient quantities. But in one respect the balloon has been of real service, viz., to science, in rendering the attainment of observations in the higher strata of the atmosphere not only possible but practicable. In regard to such matters the balloon is unique, as the atmosphere is the great laboratory of nature, in which are produced all the phenomena of weather, the results of which we perceive on the earth; and no observations made on mountain-sides can take the place of those made in the balloon, as what is required is the knowledge of the state of the upper atmosphere itself, free from the disturbing effects of the contiguity of the land. Although, therefore, in what follows, we shall notice any particularly remarkable ascents, we shall chiefly confine ourselves to the few that have been undertaken for the sake of advancing science, and which alone are of permanent value. It will be necessary to make one exception to this rule, however, in the case of the parachute, the experiments with which require some notice, although they have been put to uo useful purpose. The balloon has also been used in warfare as a means of observing the movements of the enemy; and the applications of it to this purpose deserve notice, although we think not so much use has been made of the balloon in this direction as might have been.
The substitution of coal-gas for hydrogen is due to Mr Charles Green, the veteran aeronaut, who made several hundred ascents, the first of which took place on July 19, 1821, the coronation day of George IV. In this ascent ordinary coal-gas was first used; and every balloon, with very few exceptions, that has ascended since this date has been so inflated. Pall Mall was first lighted by gas in 1807, and at the end of 1814 the general lighting of London by gas commenced; so that coal-gas could not have been available for filling balloons long before it was actually used.
Leaving out of consideration the ascents undertaken for scientific objects (very many of which were remarkable for the height attained or the distance traversed, and which will be specially noticed further on), we proceed to mention the most noteworthy ascents that have taken place and that have not ended fatally (these latter will be referred to separately). Mr Crosbie, a gentleman who was the first to ascend from Ireland (January 19, 1785), on the 19th July 1785 attempted to cross St, George's Channel to England, but fell into the sea; he was saved by some vessels that came to his rescue. Lunardi also fell into the sea, about a mile and a half from the shore, after an ascent from Edinburgh in December 1785; he was rescued by a fishing-boat. Richard Maguire was the second person who ascended from Ireland. Mr Crosbie had inflated his balloon on May 12, 1785, but it was unable to take him up, when Mr Maguire, a student at the university, who was present, offered to ascend. His offer was accepted, and he made the ascent. For this he was knighted by the Lord-Lieutenant (Monck Mason, p. 266). Oa July 22, 1785, Major Money ascended from Norwich. The balloon was blown out to sea, and he was obliged to descend into the water. After remaining there seven hours he was rescued by a revenue cutter which had been dospatehed to his assistance, Mr James Sadler attempted to cross St George's Channel on the 1st of October 1812, and had nearly succeeded, when, in consequence of a change in the wind, he was forced to descend into the sea off Liverpool. After remaining in the water some time, he was rescued by a fishing-boat. But on July 22, 1817, Mr Windham Sadler, his second son, succeeded in crossing the Channel from Dublin to Holyhead. On May 24, 1837, Mr Sneath ascended from near Mansfield in a fire-balloon, and descended safely. At half-past one o'clock on November 7, 1836, Mr Robert Hollond, Mr Monck Mason, and Mr Charles Green ascended from Vauxhall Gardens, and descended at about two leagues from \Veilburg, in the duchy of Nassau, at half-past seven the next morning, having thus traversed a distance of about 500 miles in 18 hours; Liege was passed in the course of the night, and Coblentz in the early morning. A full account of this trip is given by Mr Monck Mason in his Aeronaut-La (1838). The balloon in which the journey was performed (a very large one, containing about 85,000 cubic feet of gas), was subsequently called the Nassau Balloon, and under that name became famous, and ascended frequently.
Everything passed off satisfactorily, the balloon descending safely at Beckenham ; the pony showed no alarm, but quietly ate some beans with which its rider supplied it in the air. Equestrian ascents have since been repeated. In 1852, Madame Poitevin, who had made several such journeys in Paris, ascended from Cremorne Gardens, London, on horseback (as "Europa on a bull"); but after the first journey its repetition was stopped in England by application to the police courts, as the exhibition outraged public feeling. Lieutenant Gale was killed at Bordeaux on Sept. 8, 1850, in descending after an equestrian ascent, through mismanagement in landing of the horse. M. Poitevin, descending in 1858, after an equestrian ascent from Paris, was nearly drowned in the sea near Malaga. Among remarkable balloon ascents must also be noticed that of Mr Wise, from St Louis, on June 23, 1859, in which a distance of 1120 miles was traversed.
In 1863, Nadar, a well-known photographer at Paris, constructed an enormous balloon, which he called " Le Geant." It was the largest gas-balloon ever constructed, containing over 200,000 cubic feet of gas. Underneath it was placed a smaller balloon, called a compensator, the object of which was to prevent loss of gas during the voyage. • The car had two stories, and was, in fact., a model of a cottage in wicker-work, S feet in height by 13 feet in length, containing a small printing-office, a photographic department, a refreshment-room, a lavatory, &c. The first ascent took place at five o'clock on Sunday, October 4, 1863, from the Champ de Mars. There were thirteen persons in the car, including one lady, the Princess de la Tour d'Auvergne, and the two aeronauts Louis and Jules Godard. In spite of the elaborate preparations that had been trade and the stores of provisions that were taken up, the balloon descended at nine o'clock, at Meaux, the early descent being rendered necessary, it was said, by an accident to the valvedine. A second ascent was made a fortnight later viz., on October 18; there were nine passengers, includin1 Madame Nadar. The balloon descended at the expiration of seventeen hours, near Nienburg in Hanover, a distance of about 400 miles. A strong wind was blowing, and the balloon was dragged over the ground a distance of 7 or 8 miles. All the passengers were bruised, and some more seriously hurt. The balloon and car were then brought to England, and exhibited for some time at the Crystal Palace at the end of 1863 and beginning of 1864. The two ascents of Nadar's- balloon excited an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm and interest, vastly out of proportion to what they were entitled to. The balloon was larger than any of the same kind that had previously ascended; but this was scarcely more than just appreciable to the eye, as the doubling the contents of a balloon makes comparatively slight addition to its diameter. M. Nadar's idea was to obtain sufficient money, by the exhibition of his balloon, to carry out a plan of aerial locomotion he had conceived possible by means of the principle of the screw; in fact, he spoke of "Le 06a/it" as " the last balloon." He also started L'Aeronaute, a newspaper devoted to aerostation, and published a small book, which was translated into English under the title The Right to Fly. Nadar's ascents had not the remotest connection with science, although he claimed that they had; nor was his knowledge, as shown in his writings, sufficient to have enabled him to advance it in any way.
Directly after Nadar's two balloon ascents, M. Eugene Godard constructed what was perhaps the largest aerial machine that has ever been made. It was a Montgolficr or fire•balloon, of nearly half-a-million cubic feet capacity (more than double the capacity of Nadar's). The balloon Flesselles, 1783, is said to have slightly exceeded this size. The air was heated by an 18 feet stove, weigh questrian We ought also, perhaps, to notice a curious ascent made ;cents. by Mr Green on July 29, 1828, from the Eagle Tavern, City Road, on the back of a favourite pony. Underneath Vie balloon was a platform (in place of a car) containing places for the pony's feet, and some straps went loosely under his body, to prevent his lying down or moving about.
ing, with the chimney, 980 lb. This furnace was fed by straw; and the " car " consisted of a gallery surrounding it. Two ascents of this balloon were made from Cremorne Gardens, on July 20 and July 28, 1864. After the first journey the balloon descended at Greenwich, and after the second at Walthamstow, where it was injured by being blown against a tree. Notwithstanding the enormous size of the balloon, M. Godard asserted that it could be inflated in half an hour, and the inflation at Cremorne did not occupy more than an hour. The ascent of the balloon was a very striking sight, the flames roaring up the chimney of the furnace into the enormous globe above. The trusses of straw were suspended by ropes from the gallery below the car, and were drawn up and placed in the furnace as required. This was the first fire-balloon seen by the inhabitants of London, and it was the second ascent of this kind that had been made in this country, Mr Sneath's ascent at Mansfield having been the first, as Mr Tytler's experiment at Edinburgh in 1781 was a leap, not an ascent, as no source of heat was taken up. In spite of the rapidity with which the inflation was effected, few who saw the ascent could fail to receive an impression most favourable to the gas-balloon in the matter of safety, as a rough descent, with a heated furnace as it were in the car, could not be other than most dangerous.
In the summer of 1873 the proprietors of the New York Daily Graphic, an illustrated paper, determined to construct a very large balloon, and enable Mr Wise, the well-known American aeronaut, to realise his favourite scheme of crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. It was believed by many that a current from west to east existed constantly at heights above 10,000 feet, but this seems very uncertain. Mr Green having stated that he had met with such a current, Mr Glaisher made a point of investigating the directions of the wind at different heights in his ascents, but found that they were as capricious as near the ground. The same result was found by others, and a comparison of the courses of the balloons sent up from Paris during the siege will show that no constant current exists. The American project came to nothing owing to the quality of the material of which the balloon was made. The size was said to be such as to contain 400,000 cubic feet, so that it would lift a weight of 14,000 lb. On September 12, 1873, during its inflation, Mr Wise declared the material of which it was made was so bad that he could not ascend in it, though the other two persons who were to accompany him agreed to go. When, however, 325,000 feet of gas had been put into the balloon, a rent was observed, and the whole rapidly collapsed. Although this accident was greatly regretted at the time, it seems pretty certain, from what subsequently took place, that the aeronauts would not have succeeded in their object, and a serious mishap was probably avoided. On October 6, 1873, Mr Donaldson and two others ascended from New York in the balloon after it had been repaired, and effected a perilous descent in Connecticut. During the autumn of 1873 a great amount of discussion took place both in England and America about the existence of the westerly current and the subject of aerostation. In September 1873 Mr Barnum, the well-known American showman, visited England with the view of eliciting whether, in the opinion of those best qualified, there was sufficient probability of a successful result to induce him to undertake the construction of a suitable balloon.
By aeronauts (omitting the pioneers Lunardi, Zambec2ari, and others who have been already spoken of) we mean persons who have followed ballooning as a business ar trade. Of these, perhaps the best known and most successful have been Blanchard, Garnerin, the Sadler:;, Mr Charles Green, Mr Wise, Mr Coxwell, and the brothers Godard. Blanchard made, it is said, thirty-six ascents, his first having taken place on March 2, 1784. His wife also made many ascents ; she was killed on July 7, 1819. Garnerin is said to have ascended more than fifty times; he introduced night ascents with fireworks, ccec., the first of which took place on August 4, 1807. We shall have occasion to refer to him again when we treat of parachutes. Mr James Sadler made about sixty ascents, the first of which took place on October 12, 1784. His two sons, John and Windham, both followed in their father's steps the latter was killed in 1817. In the minds of most Englishmen the practice of ballooning will, for a long time, be associated with the name of Mr Charles Green, the most celebrated of English aeronauts, who, having made his first ascent on July 19, 1821, only died in the year 1870, at a very advanced age. He is credited with 526 ascents by Mr Tumor; and from advertisements, &c., we see that in 1838 he had made 249. Mr Green may be said to have reduced ballooning to routine, and he made more ascents than any other person has ever accomplished. He accompanied Mr Welsh in his scientific ascents, and to him is also due the invention of the guide rope, which he used in many of his voyages with success. It merely consisted of a rope not less than 1000 feet in length, which was attached to the ring of the balloon (from which the car is suspended), and hung down so that the end of it was allowed to trail along the surface of the ground, the object being to prevent the continual waste of gas and ballast that takes place in an ordinary balloon journey, as such an expenditure is otherwise always going on, owing to the necessity of keeping the balloon from getting either too high or too low. If a balloon provided with a guide rope sinks so low that a good deal of the rope rests on the earth, it is relieved of so much weight and rises again; if, on the contrary, it rises so high that but a little is supported by the earth, a greater weight is borne by the balloon, and equilibrium is thus produced. Mr Green frequently used the guide rope, and found that its action was satisfactory, and that it did not, as might be supposed, become entangled in trees, &c. It was used in the Nassau journey, but more recent aeronauts have dispensed with it. Still, in crossing the sea or making a very long journey, where the preservation of the gas was of great importance, it could not fail to be valuable. Mr Green had, in his time, more experience in the management than has fallen to the lot of any one else, and he brought to bear on the subject a great amount of skill and practical knowledge. There is also a plain matter-of-fact style about his accounts of his ascents that contrasts very favourably with the writings of sonm other aeronauts. Mr Coxwell, who has made several hundred ascents, first ascended in 1844, under the name of Wells. He it was who, as aeronaut, accompanied Mr Glaisher in most of his scientific ascents, 1862-65. The Godard family have made very many ascents in France, and are well known in all countries in connection with aeronautics. It was to two of the Godards that the management of the military balloons in the Italian campaign was entrusted; it was M. Jules Godard who succeeded in opening the valve in the dangerous descent of Nadar's balloon in Hanover in 1863, and it was Eugene Godard who constructed perhaps the largest Montgolfier ever made, an account of the ascensions of which has been given above. M. Dupuis Delcourt was also a well-known aeronaut; he has written on the subject of aerostation, and his balloons were employed by MM. Bixio and Barral in their scientific ascents. In America Mr Wise is par excellence the aeronaut; he has made several hundred ascents, and many of them are distinguished for much skill and daring. He also appears to have pursued his profession with more energy and capacity than has any other aeronaut in recent times, and his history of Aeroslation shows him to possess much higher scientific attainments than balloonists usually have. In fact, Mr Wise stands alone in this respect, as nearly all professional aeronauts are destitute of scientific knowledge.
The number of fatal accidents that have occurred in the history of balloons is not very great, and nearly all have resulted either from the use of the fire-balloon, or from want of knowledge, or carelessness on the part of the aeronauts themselves. We have already referred to the accidents that closed the careers of Pihare de Rozier and Zambeccari. On November 25, 1802, Signor Olivari, at Orleans, and on July 17, 1812, Herr Bittorff, at Mannheim, perished in consequence of the accidental combustion of their Monigolfigrex. On April 7, 1806, M. Mosment ascended from Lille upon a platform, from which he accidentally fell and was killed. On July 7, 1819, Madame Blanchard ascended from Paris at night with fireworks attached to the car, a spark from one of which ignited the gas in the balloon, and she was precipitated to the ground and killed. Lieut. Harris ascended from London on May 25, 1824, but, through mismanagement of the valve-line, he allowed all the gas to escape suddenly from the balloon, which descended with terrible velocity. He was killed by the fall, but his companion, Miss Stocks, escaped almost uninjured. In an ascent from Blackburn on September 29, 1824, by Mr Windham Sadler, the balloon, in rising, struck against a chimney, and the aeronaut fell over the side of the car and was killed. On July 24, 1837, Mr Cocking descended from a balloon in a parachute, which struck the ground with such violence that he was killed on the spot. In descending with a horse on September 8, 1850, Lieut. Gale was killed; and in 1863 Mr Chambers was killed at Nottingham, his death arising from suffocation by the gas that poured out at the neck of the balloon, which was m t separated from the car by a sufficient interval.
The number of accidents that have occurred bears but a very small proportion to the number of successful ascents that have been made. Mr Monck Mason, in his Aeronautica, gives a list of the names, with the dates and places of their ascent, of all persons who, as far as he could find, had ascended previously to 1838. His list contains 471 names, which are distributed among the inhabitants of the different countries as follows : - England, 313; France, 104; Italy, 18; Germany and the German States, 17; Turkey, 5; Prussia, 3; Russia, 2; Poland, 2; Hungary, 2, Denmark, 1; Switzerland, 1; and the United States, 3. Among these are the names of 49 women, of whom 28 are English, 17 French, 3 German, and 1 Italian. Some of the persons had ascended a great number of times; thus 111r Charles Green's ascents alone amounted to more than 249; and those of the members of the same family to 535. Mr Mason calculated that the whole number of ascents executed by Englishmen was 752. Of the 471 adventurers only nine were killed, and of these six owed their fate to the dangers attendant on the use of the fire-balloon, and one to bravado. The great number of our own countrymen that appear in the above list is no doubt partially due to the fact that it was compiled by an Englishman, to whom English newspapers and other records were more accessible; still there is no reason to doubt that a much greater number of Englishmen have ascended than inhabitants of any other country, as balloons as an amusement at fetes, have been more common here. The number of Englishmen who have ascended might now be estimated at from 1500 to 2000.
We can call to mind but three fatal casualties that have taken place since Mr Mason compiled his list, viz., Mr Cocking's parachute accident, Mr Gale's death in 1850, and Mr Chambers' death in 1863.
We come now to an account of the use to which the balloon has been applied for the advancement of science.
The ascents that have been made are by Sacharof, Biot, and Gay-LussaP. in 1804, by Bixio and Barral in 1850, by Mr Welsh in 1852, by Mr Glaisher in 1862-66, and MM. Flammarion and De Fonviclle in 1867-68. We shall give a brief account of these ascents, because, as has been remarked, with a few exceptions, they form the only useful purpose to which the balloon has been applied. The general description of the phenomena, Sc., met with in a high ascent, and the general results found, arc referred to in the account of Mr Glaisher's experiments, as not only are his accounts more detailed, but the number of ascents made by him is much in excess of that of all the others put together.
The Academy of Sciences at St Petersburg, entertaining the opinion that the experiments made on mountain-sides by De Luc, De Saussure, Humboldt, and others must give results different from those made in free air at the same heights, resolved in 1803 that a balloon ascent should be made for the purpose of making scientific researches. Accord. dinghy, on January 30, 1804, M. Sacharof, a member of the academy, ascended, with M. Robertson as aeronaut, in a balloon belonging to the latter, which was inflated with hydrogen gas. The ascent was made at a quarter past seven, and the descent effected at a quarter to clever,. No great height was reached, as the barometer never sank below 23 in., corresponding to less than 1 mile. The experiments were not very systematically made, and the chief results were the filling and bringing down several flasks 01 air collected at different elevations, and the supposed observation that the magnetic dip was altered. A telescope was fixed in the bottom of the car pointing vertically downwards, so that the travellers might be able to ascertain exactly the spot over which they were floating at any moment. M. Sacharof found that, on shouting downwards through his speaking-trumpet, the echo from the earth was quite distinct., and at his height was audible after ar interval of about ten seconds. M. Sacharof's account is given in the Philosophical Magazine (Tilloch's), vol. xxi. PP- 193-200 (1805).
At the commencement of 1804 Laplace proposed to the members of the French Academy of Sciences that balloons should be employed for the purpose of solving certair physical problems, adding that, as the government had placed funds at their disposal for the prosecution of useful experiments, he thought they might be well applied to this kind of research. The proposition was supported by Chaptal the chemist, who was then minister of the interior, and accordingly the necessary arrangements were speedily effected, the charge of the experiments being given to MM. Gay-Lussac and Biot.
The principal object of this ascent was to determine il the magnetic force experienced any appreciable diminution at heights above the earth's surface, De Saussure having found that such was the case upon the Col du Giant. On August 24, 1804, MM. Gay-Lussac and Riot (the former eminent as a chemist and the latter as a natural philosopher) ascended from the Conservatoire des Arts at ten o'clock in the morning. Their magnetic experiments were incommoded by the rotation of the balloon, but they found that, up to the height of 13,000 feet, the time of vibration of a magnet was appreciably the same as on the earth's surface. They found also that the air became drier as they ascended. The height reached was about 13,000 feet, and the temperature declined from 63° Pahl. to 51°. The descent was effected about half-past one, at Meriville, 16 leagues from Paris.
In a second experiment, which was made on Septembc 16, 1804, M. Gay-Lussac ascended alone. The balloon left the Conservatoire des Arts at 9.40 A.m., and descended at 3.45 P.m. between Rouen and Dieppe. The chief result obtained was that the magnetic force, like gravitation. did nut experience any sensible variation at heights from the earth's surface which we can attain to. Gay-Lussac also brought down air collected at the height of nearly 23,000 feet, and on analysis it appeared that its constitution was the same as that of air collected at the earth's surface. At the time of leaving the earth the thermometer stood at 82° Fahr., and at the highest point reached (23,000 feet) it was 14°•9 Fahr. Gay-Lussac remarked that at his highest point there were still clouds above him.
From 1804 to 1850 there is no record of any scientific ascents in balloons having been undertaken. In the latter year MM. Bixio and Barral made two ascents for this purpose. They ascended from the Paris Observatory on June 29, 1850, at 10.27 A.M., the balloon being inflated with hydrogen gas. The day was a rough one, and the ascent took place suddenly, without any previous attempt having been made to test the ascensional force of the balloon. When liberated, it rose with great rapidity, and becoming fully inflated it pressed upon the network, bulging out at the top and bottom. As the ropes by which the car was suspended were too short, the balloon soon covered the travellers like an immense hood. In endeavouring to secure the valve-rope, a rent was made in the balloon, and the gas escaped so close to the faces of the voyagers as almost to suffocate them. Finding that they were descending then too rapidly, they threw overboard everything available, including their coats, and only excepting the instruments. The ground was reached at 10h. 45m., near Lagny. Of course no observations were made.
MM. Bixio and Barral determined to ascend again without delay, and accordingly, on July 27, 1850, they repeated the experiment. The ascent was remarkable on account of the extreme cold met with. At about 20,000 feet the temperature was 15° Fahr., the balloon being enveloped in cloud; but on emerging from the cloud, at 23,000 feet, the temperature sank to - 38° Fehr., no less than 53° Fahr. below that experienced by Gay-Lussac at the same elevation. The existence of these very cold clouds served to explain certain meteorological phenomena that were observed on the earth both the day before and the day after the ascent. Some pigeons were taken up in this, as in most other high ascents, and liberated; they showed a reluctance to leave the car, and then fell heavily downwards.
In July 1852 the committee of the Kew Observatory resolved to institute a series of balloon ascents, with the view of investigating such meteorological and physical phenomena as require the presence of an observer at a great height in the atmosphere. Mr Welsh, of the Kew Observatory, was the observer, and Mr Green's great Nassau balloon was employed, Mr Green himself being the aeronaut. Four ascents were made in 1852, viz., on August 17, August 26, October 31, and November 10, when the respective heights of 19,510, 19,100, 12,640, and 22,930 feet were attained. A siphon barometer, dry and wet bulb thermometers, aspirated and free, and a Regnault's hygrometer were taken up. Some air collected at a considerable height was found on analysis not to differ appreciably in its composition from air collected near the ground. The original observations are printed in exten,so in the Philosophical Transactions for 1853, pp. 311-346. The lowest temperatures met with in the four ascents were respectively 8°•7 Fahr. (19,380 feet); 12°•4 Fahr. (18,370); 16°4 Fahr. (12,640); -10°•5 Fahr. (22,370); the decline of temperature being very regular.
At the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Aberdeen in 1859, a committee was appointed for the purpose of making observations in the higher strata of the atmosphere by means of the balloon. For the first two years nothing was effected, owing to the want both of an observer and of a suitable balloon. In 1861, at Manchester, the committee was reappointed, and it then consisted of Colonel Sykes (chairman), MrAiry, Sir David Brewster, Mr Fairbairn, Admiral Fitzroy, Mr Gassiot, Mr James Glaisher, Sir J. Herschel, Dr Lee, Dr Lloyd, Dr W. A. Miller, Dr Robinson, and Dr Tyndall. Some unsuccessful experiments were made with a balloon of Mr Green's, and also with one hired from the proprietors of Cremorne Gardens, which turned out to be in a hopelessly leaky condition; the trained observers also, on whom the committee had relied, failed to perform their duties. In this _state of affairs, Mr Coxwell, an aeronaut who had made- a good many ascents, was communicated with, and he agreed to construct a new balloon, of 90,000 cubic feet capacity, on the condition that the committee would undertake to use it, and pay £25 for each high ascent made especially for the committee, the latter defraying also the cost of gas, &c., so that the expense of each high ascent amounted to nearly £50. An observer being still wanted, Mr Glaisher, a member of the committee, offered himself to take the observations, and accordingly the first ascent was made on July 17, 1862, from the gas-works at Wolverhampton, this town being chosen on account of its central position in the country. Altogether, Mr Glaisher made twenty-eight ascents, the last having taken place on May 26, 1866. Of these only seven were specially high ascents, although six others were undertaken for the objects of the committee alone. On the other occasions Mr Glaisher availed himself of public ascents from the Crystal Palace and other places of entertainment, merely taking his place like the other passengers. In the last six ascents another aeronaut., Mr Orton, and a smaller balloon, were employed. The dates, places of ascent, and greatest heights (in feet) attained in the twenty-eight ascents were-1862 : July 17, Wolverhampton, 26,177; July 30, Crystal Palace, 6937; August 18, Wolverhampton, 23,377; August 20, Crystal Palace, 5900; August 21, Hendon, 14,355; September 1, Crystal Palace, 4190; September 5, Wolverhampton, 37,000; September 8, Crystal Palace, 5428. 1S63: March 31, Crystal Palace, 22,884; April 18, Crystal Palace, 24,163; June 26, Wolverton, 23,200; July 11, Crystal Palace, 6623; July 21, Crystal Palace, 3298; August 31, Newcastle-upbn-Tyne, 8033; September 29, Wolverhampton, 16,590; October 9, Crystal Palace, 7310. 1864: January Woolwich, 11,897; April 6, Woolwich, 11,075; June Crystal Palace, 3543; June 20, Derby, 4280; June 27, Crystal Palace, 4898; August 29, Crystal Palace, 14,581; December 1, Woolwich, 5431; December 30, Woolwich, 3735. 1865: February 27, Woolwich, 4865 ; October 2, Woolwich, 1949; December 2, Woolwich, 4628. 1866: May 26, Windsor, 6325. Of these, all the ascents from Wolverhampton (four in number) and from Woolwich (seven in number) were undertaken wholly for the committee, and Mr Glaisher was merely accompanied by the aeronaut, whose business it was to manage th( balloon. The expense of the special high ascents (about £50 for each, as stated above) rendered it desirable, when possible, to takd advantage of the desire felt by many to accompany Mr Glaisher in his journey, and admit one or two other travellers; and of this kind were one or two of the ascents from the Crystal Palace, though the majority, in which the elevation attained frequently fell short of a mile, were the ordinary public ascents advertised beforehand. It is not possible here to give any complete account of the results obtained, and it would be superfluous, as the observations, both as made and after reduction, are printed in the British Association, Reports, 1862-66. It will be enough, after explaining the objects of the experiments, &c., to describe briefly one or two of the most remarkable ascents, and then state the kind of conclusions that follow from them as a whole.
The primary object was to determine the temperature of the air, and its hygrometrical state at different elevations to as great a height as could be reached; and the secondary objects were - (1) to determine the temperature of the dew-point by Daniell's and Regnault's hygrometers, as well as by the dry and wet bulb thermometers, and to compare the results; (2) to compare the readings of an aneroid barometer with those of a mercurial barometer up to the height of 5 miles; (3) to determine the electrical state of the air, (4) the oxygenic condition of the atmosphere, and (5) the time of vibration of a magnet; (6) to collect air at different elevations; (7) to note the height and kind of clouds, their density and thickness; (8) to determine the rate and direction of different currents in the atmosphere; and (9) to make observations on sound.
The instruments used were mercurial and aneroid barometers, dry and wet bulb thermometers, Daniell's dew-point hygrometer, Regnault's condensing hygrometer, maximum and minimum thermometers, a magnet for horizontal vibration, hermetically sealed glass tubes exhausted of air, and an electrometer. In one or two of the ascents a camera was taken up.
One end of the car was occupied by the aeronaut; near the other, in front of Mr Glaisher, was placed a board or table, the extremities of which rested on the sides of the car; upon this board was placed suitable framework to carry the several thermometers, hygrometers, magnet, aneroid barometer, &e.; a perforation through it admitted the lower branch of the mercurial barometer to descend below, leaving the upper branch at a convenient height for observing. A watch was placed directly opposite to Mr Glaisher, the central space being occupied by his notebook. The aspirator (for Regnault's hygrometer) was fixed underneath the centre of the board, so as to be conveniently workable by either feet or hands. Holes were cut in the board to admit the passage of the flexible tubes required for Regnault's hygrometer and the dry and wet bulb thermometers.
The first ascent was made, as has been stated, from Wolverhampton on July 17, 1862, and the journey was remarkable on account of a warm current that .was met with at a great elevation. The weather, previous to the ascent, had been bad for a long time, and it had been delayed in consequence. The wind was still blowing from the west, and considerable difficulty was experienced in the preliminary arrangements, so that no instrument was fixed before starting. The balloon left at 9.43 A.M., and a height of 3800 feet was reached before an observation could be taken. At 4000 feet clouds were entered, and left at 8000 feet. The temperature of the air at starting was 59° Palm, at 4000 feet it was 45°, and it descended to 26° at 10,000 feet, from which height to that of 13,000 feet there was no diminution. While passing through this space Mr Glaisher put on additional clothing, feeling certain that a temperature below zero would be attained before the height of 5 miles was reached; but at the elevation of 15,500 feet the temperature was 31°, and at each successive reading, up to 19,500, it increased, and was there 42°. The temperature then decreased rapidly, and was 16° at 26,000 feet. On descending it increased regularly to 37°•8 at 10,000 feet. A very rough descent, in which nearly 4:50 worth of instruments were broken, was effected near Oakham, in Rutlandshire, Mr Coxwell having judged it prudent to descend on account of the proximity, as he supposed, of the Wash. In coming down, a cloud was entered at an elevation of 12,400 feet, and proved to be more than 8000 feet in thickness. The rise of temperature met with ia this ascent was most remarkable.
The weather on the day (Aug. 18, 1862) of the third ascent was favourable, and there was but little wind. All the instruments were fixed before leaving the earth. A height of more than 4 miles was attained, and the balloon remained in the air about two hours. When at its highest point there were no clouds between the balloon and the earth, and the streets of Birmingham were distinctly visible. The descent was effected at Solihull, 7 miles from Birmingham. On the earth the temperature of the air was 67°•8, and that of the dew-point 54°•6; and they steadily decreased to 39°•5 and 22°•2 respectively at 11,500 feet. The balloon was then made to descend to the height of about 3000 feet, when both increased to 56•0 and 47°•5 respectively. On throwing out ballast the balloon rose again, and the temperature declined pretty steadily to 24•0, and that of the dew-point to - 100.0, at the height of 23,000 feet. During this ascent Mr Glaisher's hands became quite blue, and he experienced a qualmish sensation in the brain and stomach, resembling the approach of sea-sickness; but no further inconvenience, besides such as resulted from the 'cold and the difficulty of breathing, was experienced. This feeling of sickness never occurred again to Mr Glaisher in any subsequent ascent.
The ascent from the Crystal Palace on August 20, 1862, was merely an ordinary one for the public amusement, in which Mr Glaisher took a place in the car. In these low ascents from places of entertainment, in which other persons also were passengers, the large board stretching right across the car could not be used. A smaller frame was therefore made, which could be screwed on to the edge of the car, to carry the watch, siphon barometer, aneroid barometer, dry and wet bulb thermometers, gridiron thermometer,1 and Daniell's and Regnault's hygrometers, which comprised all the instruments usually taken up in these low ascents. In the first low ascent, July 30, this framework was fixed inside the car; but as it seemed possible that the warmth proceeding from the voyagers might influence the readings of the instruments, it was always afterwards fixed outside, and projected beyond the car, so that all the instruments were freely exposed to the surrounding air. The ascent on August 20 was a low one, and presented no remarkable feature except that the balloon was nearly becalmed over London. The earth was left at 6.26 r.r., and the air was so quiet that at the height of three-quarters of a mile the balloon was still over the Crystal Palace. At 7h. 47m. it was over London, and moving so slowly that it was thought desirable to ascend above the clouds in hopes of meeting with a more rapid current of air. At Sh. 5m. the voyagers were above the clouds, and it became quite light again, darkness having come on whilst hovering over London, at which time the gradual illumination by the lights in the streets formed a most wonderful sight, and one never to be forgotten. The roar, or rather loud hum, proceeding from the great city was also most remarkable. After having been above the clouds some time, the lowing of cattle and other agricultural sounds were heard. Accordingly, the valve-line was pulled, and the balloon descended below the clouds, when the light of London was seen in the distance as a misty glare. The darkness increased as the balloon descended very slowly, and it at length touched the ground so gently in the middle of a field at Mill Hill, near Hendon, that those in the car were scarcely aware of the contact. There were twelve voyagers altogether, and when with some trouble sufficient countrymen were collected to take their places and enable Clem to leave the car, it was resolved to anchor the balloon for the night and to make an ascent in the early morning. Accordingly, at 4.30 A.M., on August 21, the earth was left, there being altogether five persons in the car. It was a dull, warm, cloudy morning, with the sky overcast. In about an hour the height of 3 miles was attained, and the temperature had fallen to 23°, having been 58° on the earth before leaving. The aspect of the clouds under formation before and during the rising of the sun was marvellous in the extreme, and baffled description. There were seen shining masses of cloud in mountain chains, rising perpendicularly from the plain, with summits of dazzling whiteness, forming vast ravines, down which the balloon appeared to glide, or pass through their sides, into other valleys, until, as the balloon rose far above, all appeared a mighty sea of white cloud. The descent was effected about a quarter past seven, and the transition from the magnificent scene above the clouds to the ugly prospect of the dreary earth as seen early on a dull morning, with a uniform leaden sky, was most depressing. The place of descent was near Biggleswade.
The most noteworthy fact in connection with the ascent, September 1, 1862, was, that from the balloon the clouds were observed to be forming below, and seen to be following the whole course of the Thames from the Nore to Richmond. The clouds were above the river following all its windings, and extending neither to the right nor to the left. It was about the time of high water at London Bridge, and the phenomenon was no doubt connected with the warm water from the sea.
As in the ascent, September 5, 1862, the greatest height ever reached was attained, it is desirable to give the account of it in some detail, and in Mr Glaisher's own words. It is only necessary to premise that it was intended on this occasion to ascend as high as possible. The following is an extract from Mr Glaisher's account (British Association Report, 1862, pp. 383=385): - This ascent bad been delayed owing to the unfavourable state of the weather. The balloon left at lh. 3m. P.M. The temperature of the air was 59°, and the dew-point 50°. At the height of 1 mile it was 41°, dew-point 38°; and shortly afterwards wo entered a cloud of about 1100 feet in thickness, in which the temperature of the air fell to 36i°, the dew-point being the same, thus indicating that the air was here saturated with moisture. On emerging from the cloud at lb. 17m. we came upon a flood of strong sunlight, with a beautiful blue sky, without a cloud above us, and a magnificent sea of cloud below, its surface being varied with endless hills, hillocks, mountain chains, and many snow-white masses rising from it. I here tried to take a view with the camera ; but we were rising with too great rapidity, and going round and round too quickly, to enable me to do so. The flood of light, however, was so great that all I should have needed would have been a momentary exposure, as Dr Hill Norris had kindly furnished me with extremely sensitive dry plates for the purpose. We reached 2 miles in height at 21m. The temperature had fallen to the freezing-point, and the dew-point to 26°. We were 3 miles high at lb. 28m., with a temperature of 18°, and dew-point 13°. At lh. 39m. we had reached 4 miles, and the temperature was 8°, and dew-point– 15° ; in ten minutes more we had reached the fifth mile, and the temperature 'had passed below zero, and then read – 2°, and at this point no dew was observed on Begiault's hygrometer when cooled down to – 30°; but a dew-point obtained from the readings of dry and wet gave– 36°. Up to this time I had taken observations with comfort. I had experienced no difficulty in breathing, whilst Mr Coxwell, in consequence of the necessary exertions he had to make, had breathed with difficulty for some time. At lh. 51m. the barometer reading was 11.05 inches, but this requires a subtractive correction of 0.25 inch, as found by comparison with Lord Wrottesley's standard barometer just before starting. I afterwards read the dry thermometer as – 5° ; this must have been about lh. 52m. or later ; I could not see the column of mercury in the wet bulb thermometer ; nor afterwards the hands of the watch, nor the fine divisions on any instrument. I asked Mr Coxwell to help me to read the instruments, as I experienced a difficulty in seeing. In consequence, however, of the rotatory motion of the balloon, which had continued without ceasing since the earth had been left, the valve line had become twisted, and he had to leave the car and mount into the ring above to adjust it. At this time I looked at the barometer, and found it to be 10 inches, still decreasing fast ; its true reading therefore was 94 inches, implying a height of 29,000 feet. Shortly afterwards I laid my arm upon the table, possessed of its full vigour, and on being desirous of using it, I found it powerless - it must have lost its power momentarily. I tried to move the other arm, and found it powerless also. I then tried to shake myself, and succeeded in shakimrb my body. I seemed to have no limbs. I then looked at the barometer, and whilst doing so my head fell on my left shoulder. I struggled and shook my body again, but could not move my arms. I got my head upright, but for an instant only, when it fell on my right shoulder, and then I fell baCkwards, my back resting against the side of the ear, and my head on its edge ; in this position my eyes were directed towards Mr Coxwell in the ring. When I shook my body I seemed to have full power over the muscles of the back, and considerable power over those of the neck, but none over either my arms or my legs ; in fact, I seemed to have none. As in the ease of the arms, all muscular power was lost in an instant from my back and neck. I dimly saw Mr Coxwell in the ring, and endeavoured to speak, but could not ; when in an instant intense black darkness came : the optic nerve finally lost power suddenly. I was still conscious, with as active a brain as at the present moment whilst writing this. I thought I had been seized with asphyxia, and that I should experience no more, as death would come unless we speedily descended : other thoughts were actively entering my mind, when I suddenly became unconscious as on going to sleep. I cannot tell anything of the sense of hearing ; the perfect stillness and silence of the regions 6 miles from the earth (and at this time we were between 6 and 7 miles high) is such that no sound reaches the ear.
My last observation was made at lb. 54m. at 29,000 feet. I suppose two or three minutes fully were occupied between any eyes becoming insensible to seeing fine divisions and lb. 54m., and then that two or three minutes more passed till I was insensible ; therefore I think this took place at about lh. 56m. or lh. 57m. Whilst powerless I heard the words ` temperature' and ` observation,' and I knew Mr Coxwell was in the car speaking to me, and endeavouring to arouse me; therefore consciousness and hearing had returned. I then heard him speak more emphatically, but I could not see, speak, or move. I heard him again say, ` Do try - now do.' Then I saw the instruments dimly, then Mr Coxwell, and very shortly saw clearly. I rose in my seat and looked round, as though waking from sleep, though not refreshed by sleep, and said to Mr Coxwell, `I have been insensible.' He said, ' You have ; and 1 too, very nearly.' I then drew up my legs, which had been extended before me, and took a pencil in my hand to begin observations. Mr Coxwell told me that he had lost the use of his hands, which were black, and I poured brandy over them.
" I resumed my observations at 2h. 7m., recording the barometer reading at 11.53 inches and temperature – 2°. I suppose that three or four minutes were occupied from the time of my hearing the words ` temperature' and ` observation' till I began to observe. If so, then returning consciousness came at 211. 4in., and this gives seven minutes for total insensibility. I found the water in the vessel supplying the wet bulb thermometer, which I had by frequent disturbances kept from freezing, was one solid mass of ice ; and it did not all melt until after we had been on the ground some time.
" Mr Coxwell told me that whilst in the ring he felt it piercingly. cold ; that hoar-frost was all round the neck of the balloon ; on attempting to leave the ring lie found his hands frozen, and he had to place his arms on the ring and drop down ; that he thought for a moment I had lain back to rest myself ; that he spoke to me without eliciting a reply ; that he then noticed any legs projected and any arms hung down by my side ; that my countenance was serene and placid, without the earnestness and anxiety he had noticed before going into the ring, and then it struck him I was insensible. He wished to approach me, but could not, and he felt insensibility coming over himself ; that he became anxious to open the valve, but in consequence of his having lost the use of his hands he could not, and ultimately did so by seizing the cord with his teeth, and dipping his head two or three times, until the balloon took a decided turn downwards.
"No inconvenience followed this insensibility, and when we dropped it was in a country where no conveyance of any kind could be obtained, so that I had to walk between 7 and 8 miles.
"The descent was at first very rapid ; we passed downwards 3 miles in nine minutes ; the balloon's career was then checked, and it finally descended in time centre of a large grass field at Cold Weston, 74 miles from Ludlow.
" In this ascent six pigeons were taken up. One was thrown out at the height of 3 miles, when it extended its wings and dropped as a piece of paper ; a second, at 4 miles, flew vigorously round and round, apparently taking a dip each time ; 'a third was thrown out between 4 and 5 miles, and it fell downwards as a stone ; a fourth was thrown out at 4 miles on descending ; it flew in a circle, and shortly alighted on the top of the balloon. The two remaining pigeons were brought down to the ground. One was found to be dead, and the other, a carrier, was still living, but would not leave the hand when I attempted to throw it off, till, after a quarter of an hour, it began to peek a piece of ribbon which encircled its neck, and was then jerked off the finger, and flew with some vipur to- wards Wolverhampton. One of the pigeons returned to 1Kolver- liampton on Sunday, the 7th, and this is the only one that has been heard of."
Mr Glaislier found from his observation-book that the last observation was made at 29,000 feet, and that at this time the balloon was ascending at the rate of 1000 feet per minute; and that when he resumed his observations, it was descending at the rate of 2000 feet per minute, the interval being thirteen minutes. This gives 36,000 or 37,000 feet for the greatest height attained. Two other series of considerations led to the latter height, and there can be no doubt that the altitude of 37,000 feet, or 7 miles, was attained on this occasion.
In the ascent, April 18, 1863, 24,000 feet of elevation was reached. It was remarkable for the rapidity of the descent. At 21i. 44m., the balloon being then at a height of 10,000 feet, Mr Coxwell suddenly caught sight of Beachy Head., and Mr Glaisher, looking over the edge of the car, saw the sea, apparently immediately underneath. There was no time to be lost, and Mr Coxwell hung on to the valve-line, telling Mr Glaisher to leave his instruments and do the same. The earth was reached at 21i. 48m., the two miles of descent having been effected in four minutes. The balloon struck the ground near Newhaven with a terrible crash, but, from the free use of the valve-line, it was so crippled that it did not move afterwards. All the instruments, of the value of more than £25, including some that were unreplaceable, were broken, and Mr Glaisher was hurt. In the descent, after the first high ascent on July 17, 1862, the earth was struck with so much violence that most of the instruments were broken, and Mr Glaisher (who was closed in by his observing-board) was a good deal hurt then. In subsequent ascents, therefore, boxes were used filled with small mattresses, in which the instruments could be hurriedly placed, and the board was so arranged that it could be turned over and hung -outside the car. These improvements had the effect of diminishing the danger to himself and the chance of breakage of the instruments, but in the Newhaven descent there was not sufficient time to put them in practice.
The circumstances met with in the ascent, June 26, 1863, were so remarkable that a short account cannot be omitted. The morning was at first very bright and fine, but between 11 and 12 o'clock a change took place; the sky became covered with clouds, and the wind rose and blew strongly, so that great difficulty was experienced in completing the inflation. At lh. 3m. the balloon left; in four minutes, at 4000.feet high, cloud was entered. Mr Glaisher expected soon to break through it, and enter into bright sunshine as usual, but nothing of the sort took place, as, on emergence, clouds were seen both above and below. At 9000 feet the sighing and moaning of the wind were heard, and Mr Glaisher satisfied himself that this was due, not to the cordage of the balloon, but to opposing currents. At this time the sun was seen faintly, but instead of its brilliance increasing, although the balloon was then two miles high, a fog was entered, and the sight of the sun lost. The balloon next passed through a dry fog, which was left at 12,000 feet, and after the sun had been seen faintly for a little time, a wetting fog was entered.
" At 15,000 feet," Mr Glaisher proceeds, "we were still in fog, but it was not so wetting. At 16,000 feet we entered a dry fog ; at 17,000 feet saw faint gleams of the sun, and heard a train. We were now about 3 miles high ; at this time we were not in cloud, but clouds were below us ; others were on our level at a distance, and yet more above us. We looked with astonishment at Bach other, and said. as we were rising steadily we surely must soon Mass through them. At 17,500 feet we Were again enveloped in fog, which became wetting at 18,500 feet ; we left this cloud below at 19,600 feet. At 20,000 feet the sun was just visible. We were now approaching 4 miles high ; dense clouds were still above us; for a space of 2000 to 3000 feet we met with no fog, but on passing above 4 miles our attention was first attracted to a dark mass of cloud, and then to another on our level ; both these clouds had fringed edges - they were both nimbi. Without the slightest doubt both these clouds were regular rain-clouds. Whilst looking at them we again lost sight of everything, being enveloped in fog whilst passing upwards through 1000 feet. At 22,000 feet we again emerged, and were above clouds on passing above 23,000 feet. At six minutes to 2 o'clock we heard a railway train ; the temperature here was 18°. I wished still to ascend to find the limits of this vapour, but Mr Coxwell said, ' We are too short of sand ; I cannot go higher ; we must not even stop here.' 1 was therefore most reluctantly compelled to abandon the wish, and looked searchingly around. At this highest point, in close proximity to us, were rain-clouds ; below us dense fog. I was again reminded that we must not stop. With a hasty glance every-where, above, below, around, I saw the sky nearly covered with dark clouds of a stratus character, with cirri still higher, and small spaces of blue sky between them. The blue was not the blue of 4 or 5 miles high as I had always before seen it, but a faint blue, as seen from the earth when the air is charged with moisture."
In the downward journey an even more remarkable series of circumstances was met with; for a fall of rain was passed through, and then below it a snow-storm, the flakes being entirely composed of spiculte of ice and innumerable snow-crystals. On reaching the ground near Ely the lower atmosphere was found to be thick, misty, and murky. At Wolverton the afternoon was cold, raw, and disagreeable for a summer's day. The fact of rain-clouds extending layer above layer to a height of 4 miles, was one never hitherto regarded as possible; and the occurrence of rain and snow, and the latter underneath the former, and all happening on a day in the very middle of summer, formed a series of most curious and unexpected phenomena.
Mr Glaisher having, in one of his descents, which took Night' place near sunset, observed that the temperature was the ascent:. same through a very considerable height, it occurred to him that after dark it was quite possible that, for some elevation above the earth's surface, the temperature might even increase with increase of height ; and to determine this he arranged for seine ascents to be made after sunset, so that the temperature during the night might be observed. For this purpose he procured a couple of Davy lamps, which answered their object satisfactorily. Accordingly, on October 2, 1865, _an ascent was made from Woolwich Arsenal, the time of starting being about three-quarters of an hour after the sun had set. The temperature on the earth was 56°, and it steadily increased to 59•6 at the height of 1900 feet. This was established conclusively by repeated ups and downs, the temperature falling as the balloon descended. The view of London lighted up, as seen from the balloon in this ascent, the night being clear, was most wonderful. A second night ascent was made from the same place on December 2, 1865, and the balloon left the earth 21 hours after sunset. On this occasion the temperature did not rise, but the decrease, though steady, was small. In an ascent from 'Windsor on May 29, 1866, the balloon was kept up till half-past eight o'clock, and the temperature was found to decrease as the earth was approached during the last 900 feet. In this last ascent no paid aeronaut was employed, as Mr Westcar, of the Royal Horse Guards, undertook the management of the balloon. In the preceding five ascents Mr Orton, of Blackwall, was employed as aeronaut.
It has been found necessary in the present notice to Results allude merely to the more striking points noticed in Mr expert' Glaisher's twenty-eight ascents. The number of observations made by him was of course great, and it is only necessary here to repeat that they are to be found in the Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of Science,