Blog Posts

The Great Nassau Balloon

The most celebrated event in all his career, however, was the voyage of the Great Nassau Balloon, in November 1836. This voyage created a tremendous sensation at the time, and has always been considered one of the most adventurous enterprises in the whole history of aeronautics. How it came about was as follows:—

The managers of the Vauxhall Gardens, London, had made, with Mr. Green’s assistance, a very large and fine balloon of crimson silk, which stood eighty feet high and held 90,000 cubic feet of gas, and which would carry, if needed, more than twenty persons. After it was made the proprietors proposed exhibiting it in Paris, and there was some46 question of how this valuable and fragile property had best be conveyed so far. Mr. Hollond, a young gentleman of considerable wealth, and a great lover of adventure, at once came forward, and proposed to take the balloon to the Continent by sky. His offer was accepted, and to make the ascent more noteworthy, it was decided to start from London and cross the sea by night, making as long a voyage as possible, although it was already winter time, and such a venture had never before been made.