Balloons have been around for ages. The Aztecs are said to have made the first balloons using animals' bladders for sacrificial purposes. There are even traces to be found in ancient Egyptian drawings of balloons. In France the Montogolfier brothers, Joseph Michael and Eitenne are credited with the first balloons made with paper and light cloth in 1783. The rubber balloon was invented by Professor Michael Faraday in 1824, filled with hydrogen and used in his experiments. In 1874, GJ Ingram in London invented the latex balloon and mass production was started in 1930s. Thomas Hancock, a rubber manufacturer, in 1825 is credited with the toy balloon as it is known and used today.
Earlier balloons used hydrogen for inflating them. However, soon safety concerns were raised and hydrogen began to be replaced by helium. Helium has one-tenth the lifting power of hydrogen, but it is much safer gas. The safety feature has made it possible for helium balloons to be used at course, birthday parties, in parades and floats, at circuses, in window displays, in advertising etc. Nowadays, balloons have an inner lining, which helps to seal in the helium, and minimizes helium waste, thus helping longevity.
Balloons are contagious, whenever you see one, you just have to smile. Adults are not immune to it either. This inexpensive, fun-filled little airbag will break the thickest ice between children and makes for a great gift and party favor. Nowadays, they come in an astonishing range of shapes, colors and sizes. Extensively used in decorations at various parties and events, balloons have gained and filled a niche for themselves.