National Geographic : 1936 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE I/ Photograph by Richard H. Stewart A HANK OF CLOTH AND A CLUTTER OF ROPES Like a polliwog not yet a frog, or a grub before it is transmuted into a graceful butterfly, is a stratosphere balloon viewed from below at the take-off. The gas forms a bubble near the top of the bag. The thousands of square yards of fabric below are squeezed into fantastic shapes by air pressure. Hanging vertically are linen webbing tapes from which the gondola will be suspended. When the balloon reaches the high altitudes, its gas will expand and distend the misshapen bag above to a spherical shape; excess gas will escape through the appendices hanging below. On descend ing the helium contracts and the bag again assumes this awkward shape (see Plates II and III).