Balloons (Rubber) - History of Balloons
The first rubber balloons were made by a scientist named Michael Faraday in 1824. He used them in his experiments with hydrogen at the Royal Institution in London, England. Faraday made his balloons by laying two pieces of rubber on top of each other and pressing the edges together. The tacky rubber stuck automatically. To prevent the pieces of rubber from joining all the way through, he rubbed the inside of the balloon with flour first.
Modern balloons are made from a liquid rubber called latex. Latex comes from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, which grows in many tropical countries. The balloon manufacturing process is mostly automated. Liquid latex is sent through treatment processes, colors are added, the latex is shaped, and the outer surface of the balloons may be stamped with designs.
- Before 1824, early balloons were made from dried animal bladders.
- Soon after Michael Faraday's invention of the balloon, a rubber manufacturer named Thomas Hancock came up with a way to sell them. In 1825, if a person wanted one of their own, they had to make the actual balloon themselves. Hancock's balloons were sold in the form of a do-it-yourself kit, consisting of a bottle of rubber solution and a condensing syringe.
- In 1907, rubber balloons started to be manufactured in the United States.
- Balloons are now manufactured by the millions daily in a number of countries. They are available in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors and have become a fixture at birthday parties and celebrations.