The History of the Party Balloon

Balloons are one of the most common additions to any gathering or celebration; you can find them at wedding receptions, children’s birthday parties, work-related parties, and even at Christmas. But is there a reason to why we use balloons as a form of celebration?

Has it been a result of a gradual introduction, or was it something that was a spur of the moment and it has stuck as part of tradition? Well, we at Fill N’ Away love everything balloon related, so we will delve into the history of the party balloon.

Hot air balloons

How Did It Come About?

The first rubber balloon was invented in the early 19th century by British scientist, Michael Faraday. Unfortunately, he didn’t invent it so that he could celebrate his birthday; he used it so that he could test it within his laboratory.

However, his version of the rubber balloon was completely different to the typical designs that we see on a daily occurrence; he laid two sheets of rubber on top of each other, placed flour in the middle to prevent them from joining completely, and then sealed the edges together.

He found that, when he inflated the balloons with hydrogen, they rose relatively quickly and effectively, however, he was disappointed when he realised that the hydrogen gas kept on escaping, but it didn’t help as his version of the balloon wasn’t very well put together.

A year later, inventor and rubber manufacturer Thomas Hancock began distributing balloon-making equipment and, just over twenty years later, London businessmen and women were selling the first balloons made from vulcanised rubber, meaning that the balloon would be stronger and more elastic.

How Popular Were They Initially?

In the UK, the introduction of balloons was very well received; papers around the world stated that balloons would be widely used in an array of situations, such as in the entertainment business, the military, and even meteorology in the form of weather balloons.

However, balloons weren’t popular around the world at the same time; rubber balloons weren’t manufactured in the US until the early 20th century but, when they were introduced, their popularity increased drastically throughout the century. The first deviation of a standard rubber balloon, commonly known as a sausage balloon or a modelling balloon, was produced in 1912, where Americans then began to use these balloons to create various animals and other objects in the late 30’s and 40’s.

After a few decades of these balloons dominating the entertainment industry, another type of balloon was introduced to the masses in the 1970’s – the foil balloon. The main advantages with foil balloons about other variations are that they can hold their shape more efficiently than rubber balloons, meaning they can last longer and could be used in scenarios such as birthday parties.

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After these balloons were introduced to the public, they have been one of the most popular features in birthday parties and celebrations around the world, so it is safe to say that they won’t be going out of circulation any time soon.

There are some countries around the world that have their own alternatives to balloons, such as sky lanterns in the Far East, but that is a story for another day.

At Fill N Away, we want to make sure that your celebrations go perfectly without any faults, which is why we specialise in providing helium gas canisters for your party balloons. If you want to know more, then please contact us today on 0800 195 4445 and we will be more than happy to help.

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