What a great idea Mr. E.S. Haines had back in 1884. When rain is needed, send up a balloon, disperse a chemical into the air and, voila! rain will fall.
These days we call that cloud seeding, not something I know too much about, but a quick bit of research confirmed something I did know. Not one of the chemicals used currently to make rain is called dynamite.
Mr. Haines idea was;
“to construct a captive balloon capable of carrying 800 cubic feet of hydrogen gas, and to it will be suspended a cask containing 50lb of dynamite. When rain is much needed, the balloon will be sent on a trip to the clouds, and by means of electricity the dynamite will be exploded, with the result, as the inventor anticipates, that copious showers of rain will fall on the land beneath. The explosion will open a valve which will cause the gas to leave the balloon, and the aerial visitor will then slowly return to earth.“
Australia is a very dry place after all, we need as much rain as we can get and if he thinks that his invention could supply it where needed well, good luck to him.
Just don’t try it over my house.
I have to say that the thought of seeing this invention set into motion is utterly wonderful to me. No, I don’t think rain will fall, well, not the kind of crop saving rain Mr. Haines is expecting anyway.
Along with the stunned and slightly singed birds who were unfortunate enough to be passing by I imagine there will be tiny bits of flaming paper wrapper, marked ACME DYNAMITE of course, floating back to earth.
Naturally I expect there will be bits of balloon returning to earth too, the balloon will of course not be ‘slowly returning to earth’ as expected, it was full of highly flammable hydrogen gas. In my mind’s eye there will either be smoking pieces broadcast across the fields it was supposed to be watering.
I wonder what ‘means of electricity’ will be used to detonate this contraption? I think 1884 was a little early for safe remote detonation. All I can see in my mind’s eye is a person standing directly under the balloon with a long, long, wire and a big red button. How fast do you think the wire will return to earth after the boom? I hope the button pusher is wearing a sturdy helmet….
Fortunately I found this appropriate clip on youtube.
Now imagine the 800 cubic feet of hydrogen gas suspended above 50lb (22kg+) of dynamite like a tiny, tiny Hindenberg. 😉