Newspaper illustrations of a scientific balloon ascent, 1862.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An extract from 'The Illustrated London News', with two illustrations of Glaisher's scientific balloon ascent. In his efforts to determine the nature of the upper atmosphere, English meterologist James Glaisher FRS (1809-1903) persuaded the British Asociation for the Advancement of Science to sponsor a research programme using balloons. The BAAS employed Henry Coxwell (1819-1900) to build a large balloon for the ascents from the Wolverhampton Gas Works in the West Midlands. On the final ascent on 5 September, the balloon, which was christened 'The Mammoth', reached a height of 37,000 feet (11,278 m), breaking the altitude record and making Glaisher and Coxwell the first men to enter the stratosphere.