June 23, 2009

Who Invented Balloons

Here at The Shack we are constantly in search of useful information and answers to the questions you wish that you could ask. If we do our job properly you'll dominate Trivial Pursuit and be a force to reckon with on Jeopardy. Can't promise that you'll be able to use this information to be Macgyver or Roy Hinckley, but who knows.

Today we decided to spend some time talking about balloons. No, not the hot air kind, but party balloons. So we searched high and low on the web and discovered that a number of sources say that Michael Faraday is responsible for the invention of the balloon. Yes, the same Faraday who discovered electromagnetic induction is the man to thank. (Editor's Note: If you are doing a school report double check this information, the Shack isn't really designed to be in your bibliography.)

However, there are other sources that say that there are challengers to Faraday. If you head over to Beermasters you'll see that the Aztecs made good use of their cats:
"The first use of balloons at a festive event dates to the Aztecs, whose empire in central Mexico was from the 14th through 16th centuries. Their balloons were not the fun-colored latex or Mylar one sees today, however. Their balloons were made of cat guts. Feline intestines were sewn together, filled with air and then twisted into funky shapes--as if an inflated mass made from cat guts wasn't funky enough.


Aztecs placed their balloons at the altar during festivals and ceremonies as an offering for the gods. They may have wanted good luck, a victory in battle or any number of other wishes that the sacrificial balloons would help bring. They may have even asked for more guts to make more balloons. If a large batch of cats were diseased and dying, the Aztecs sacrificed humans and used their intestines as balloons to ask for more cat intestines."
Balloon Headquarters has similar information as well as information on the art of Balloon Modeling, in fact if you go there you can find out about The National Association of Balloon Artists (NABA) and the International Balloon Association (IBA). In fact you can even read about T&JAM 1999 - The convention dedicated to balloon twisters.

Don't forget to take a look at the photos.

Who says that we are full of hot air.


Chaviva said...

I will never look at a cat the same again.

Jack said...

Just trying to provide a public service. :)