German war balloon, 1892.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News' (Vol 92/2 p 280). The use of balloons as methods of transport was begun during the Franco-Prusian War, and during the Second Boer War (1899-1902), observation balloons were used by the British during the war to follow the movements of Boer troops in the difficult, rugged South African terrain. Barrage. By the late 1880s, many succesful dirigible flights had taken place and serious thought was being given to using the airship as a means of transportation, particularly in Germany. Two experimental models, one using a gasoline engine and the other covered with a thin layer of aluminium sheeting, crashed during test flights in 1897.