Balloon gas generation, 19th century

Balloon gas generation, 19th century

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Balloon gas generation. These generators are being used to produce hydrogen gas for use in military balloons. This is part of the 1885 campaign by the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Abyssinia at Massawa (present-day Eritrea). This system was invented by French balloonist and manufacturer Gabriel Yon (1835-1894). Dilute acid is added to iron filings in the two large vats. Hydrogen gas bubbles off and is piped through water to clean it of impurities. It is then stored in steel tanks under pressure until needed. Artwork from the first volume (first period of 1888) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.

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