Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 2

There was some Wind, but not very strong. A little
Rain had wet it, so that it shone, and made an agreeable Appearance.
It diminished in Apparent Magnitude as it rose, till it enter'd the
Clouds, when it seem'd to me scarce bigger than an Orange, and soon
after became invisible, the Clouds concealing it.

The Multitude separated, all well satisfied and delighted with the
Success of the Experiment, and amusing one another with discourses of
the various uses it may possibly be apply'd to, among which many were
very extravagant. But possibly it may pave the Way to some Discoveries
in Natural Philosophy of which at present we have no Conception.

A Note secur'd from the Weather had been affix'd to the Globe,
signifying the Time & Place of its Departure, and praying those who
might happen to find it, to send an account of its State to certain
Persons at Paris. No News was heard of it till the next Day, when
Information was receiv'd, that it fell a little after 6 aClock,
at Gonesse, a Place about 4 Leagues Distance, and that it was rent
open, and some say had Ice in it. It is suppos'd to have burst by the
Elasticity of the contain'd Air when no longer compress'd by so heavy
an Atmosphere.

One of 38 feet Diameter is preparing by Mr. Montgolfier himself, at the
Expence of the Academy, which is to go up in a few Days. I am told it
is constructed of Linen & Paper, and is to be filled with a different
Air, not yet made Public, but cheaper than that produc'd by the Oil of
Vitriol, of which 200 Paris Pints were consum'd in filling the other.

It is said that for some Days after its being filled, the Ball was
found to lose an eighth Part of its Force of Levity in 24 Hours;
Whether this was from Imperfection in the Tightness of the Ball, or a
Change in the Nature of the Air, Experiments may easily discover.

I thought it my Duty, Sir, to send an early Account of this
extraordinary Fact, to the Society which does me the honour to reckon
me among its Members; and I will endeavour to make it more perfect, as
I receive farther Information.

With great Respect, I am, Sir,
Your most obedient
and most humble Servant


P. S. Since writing the above, I am favour'd with your kind Letter
of the 25th. I am much obliged to you for the Care you have taken

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