National Geographic : 1894 Apr 25
56 M. W. Harrington- Weather making. Professor A. Macfarlane, of the University of Texas, was pres ent as an uninvited guest during the elaborate experiments near San Antonio on Friday, November 25, 1892, beginning at 4 p m. The sky was from time to time overcast, and the natural con ditions were not unfavorable for rain. Many explosions were made without rain until late in the evening, from which point I will take up the story in Professor Macfarlane's own words, as given in a letter to the New York World December 4, 1892: At 10.15 a balloon was sent up and was lost in the darkness; when it exploded a very large area of light was seen, as if the explosion had oc curred inside a cloud. There was no fall of rain at the camp, and nobody was stationed below the spot where the balloon exploded. I consider this the only experiment that was worth making, yet no care was taken to observe whether rain did fall. It is conceivable that the ex plosion of a twelve-foot balloon inside a cloud ready to precipitate may Jar the particles so as to quicken the dropping of the rain. This was the idea of Ruggles. But to test whether some rain can be drawn down in this manner from a rain-cloud does not suit the ideas of cranks who wish to get a large something out of an absolute nothing. At 10.45 a mist became just perceptible. The General issued an order to get ready the rain-gauge. The boys hurried up a balloon, which was nearly ready, but it had no effect on that mist. At 11.40 the mist ceased and the stars appeared in places nearly over head. The General apparently felt that things were going against him, for he suggested to the Doctor to put a small piece of dynamite in the shells, and also to try the effect of an explosion down at the Springs. At 12.30 a 12-foot balloon went well into the cloud, but no rain effect. At 1 o'clock, the time when operations were to be suspended for the night, it was fair, with some stars visible, and the boys were preparing one more balloon. Colonel King remarked that it would be necessary to keep up the operations for forty-eight hours. I retired to a room in the hotel, from which I could see the operations. At 1.30 I heard a slight shout from the balloon boys, and I could hear the rain pattering on the roof. The General, who had also retired to the hotel, threw open the window and called out: " Hurry up, boys." After ten minutes the balloon was exploded, and the rain almost imme diately diminished so as to be scarcely perceptible. When the explo sion occurred I had my head out of the window. The hotel, a frame house, shook considerably, but there was no breaking of glass or any of the effects produced by a powerful explosion on the solid earth. At 1.50 the General went out to observe, and I heard him say : "There is a beautiful rain to the north of us and to the west of us." At 2 the rain had entirely ceased, and the last of the operations con sisted of two shells fired in succession at 2.05.
1894 May 23
1894 Mar 17