Illustration relating to the experiment that resulted in the world’s first hydrogen-filled balloon, conducted in Paris in August 1783, in which a taffeta balloon with a rubber coating was filled with hydrogen gas produced from the reaction between sulfuric acid and iron filings. The scene was supposedly engraved after a drawing by "a skillful Swedish painter, Mr. Lawrens," most likely Niclas Lafrensen the younger (1737-1807).
The balloon is attached by a faucet (diagrammed on Plate 1) to a tube exhausting from the top of a barrel. Sulfuric acid and iron filings are added to the barrel through an opening. The reaction produces a quantity of hydrogen gas that rises up into the balloon. When the material in the barrel is no longer reactive, the balloon faucet is closed, further filings and acid are added to the barrel, and the faucet is reopened to receive further gas. The process is repeated until the balloon is full.
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Faujas-de-St.-Fond, cit. (Barthélemy). “Plate 3: Filing the Balloon with Hydrogen Gas.” In Description Des Expériences De La Machine Aérostatique De MM. De Montgolfier. Paris, France: Cuchet, 1783. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/3197xm10p.
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