Two methods are used to fill the balloons. A wire is stretched across the frame of the mouth of the balloon and another at right angles to it. A ball of excelsior having been soaked in paraffin is attached at the crossing of the two. The ball should be flattened into a disc about two inches in diameter and one inch in thickness.

Inflation 185Inflation 186Inflation 187Inflation 188Inflation 189Inflation 190Inflation 191Inflation 192Inflation 193

Figs. 184, 185, 186.

Figs. 187, 188, 189, 190.

Figs. 191, 192.

Holding the balloon up by the top the paraffin disc is lighted with a parlor match. It burns and creates heat that collects in the upper part of the balloon. When it is filled so that it lifts a little and wants to get away it is released carrying up the heat generator with it. The paraffin ball continues to furnish hot air until it burns out. A balloon so equipped will travel several blocks, high up in the air. The paraffin ball is also wound about with a very fine wire which is also used to attach the ball to the wires across the opening of the balloon. It will be seen at once that a good sized opening is necessary and in this design, the reed band is ten inches in diameter.

The other method of filling is by means of a stove pipe furnace or some similar device, but in this case all the heating is done on the ground. A hole is dug in the ground and the stovepipe is banked in as a chimney. A fire is built in the hole and the hot air goes up thru the pipe to the balloon that is suspended over it. If it was not for the stove pipe the blaze would ignite the walls of the balloon. Some quite large balloons have been sent up in this way. A piece of tin or sheet iron is good to make a cover for the hole in the ground so as to prevent the dirt from falling in on the fire. Some use a little oil on the fire, but there should not be too much else the blaze will reach up thru the pipe so far as to burn up the balloon. It is well to have a cord above so as to hold the balloon up and if it is too high to hold with the hand, a pole with a wire on the end of it that could be readily released might be used. As the bag gets inflated it is best to remove the pole and hold to the bottom by the hands.

In pasting the pieces of paper together, there should be about 1/4" laps. Care must be observed in the pasting that there are no detached places, places where the paste does not stick well, as the hot air will escape. In the model given, one section was blue, two white, one red, and three white, making seven in all. Sometimes the colors are worked in differently. Half of a section will be one color, and the other half another, and next to each will be placed some contrasting color. Still further breaking up can be done until quite a design is worked out.

It is possible to decorate a plain balloon with surface design, but it must be bold and not over done. An example or two may be helpful, Figs. 188, 189, 190. Yellow and black, black and red, purple and white, green and white, and many other good combinations can be selected, but two or three colors are better than many. The best grade of tissue paper is very much superior to the cheap, as the tendency of the cheap to split out is very unsatisfactory and there are thin porous spots. The French tissues, so called, are the best, and they come in many shades of good colors.

Parachutes are other forms of balloon. They do not ascend from the ground, but are released up in the air and float downward. Sometimes a current of air will catch one and carry it far up and away. They are made like an umbrella covering, sometimes in sections and again in one piece, Fig. 191 and 192. When made in sections, they are very much like the upper one-third of a balloon. They are made from the size of your hand to beauties that are eight feet across; when made of brilliantly colored paper, they are very interesting. They have a weight suspended underneath to keep them upright in the descent. Parachutes are usually taken up on a kite line and are released well up in the air. The usual method of shaking them off the line is not as good as a definite release by a tripping string from the ground. If large ones are used, one at a time is sufficient and is simple to release. The parachute is tied with a bow-knot to the kite line with the extra string and as this string is pulled the knot comes untied and the parachute is released. When smaller ones are used they can be tied in a series and the lowest down on the string or the highest can be released, then the next, and so on. The same string can be used to tie on a long series.

No matter how small the parachute, it must have its suspension strings and weight. We have tried parachute showers that have only been a partial success, thus far. A bunch of these little parachutes each with its own string tied to the kite line, have been released, but in pulling them up they are so liable to get twisted up, that when released they cling together. If they could be carefully laid in some kind of an apron that would protect them from the breeze, I am sure they might be tumbled out so as to separate without entanglement. It is a very pretty sight to see a large bunch turned loose, each spreading its tiny night cap to the air as it starts downward. They should be of all colors, and for this purpose the one piece models and one foot in diameter are best. There is always a scramble for the souvenir parachutes when they arc released. If one had a rubber stamp outfit, it would be interesting to print something on their cover. Thread would be used for the suspension cords and perhaps a shingle nail for the weight.

Another method of release given elsewhere is sometimes used by the Chinese and Japanese, is effected by using a lighted punk such as used to set off firecrackers; when the punk burns down far enough, it burns off a supporting thread, thus releasing the object held.