Up in the Clouds
There can be no doubt that much ingenuity, as well as absurdity, has been displayed in the various suggestions that have been made from time to time, and occasionally carried into practice. One man went the length of describing a huge apparatus, consisting of very long tin pipes, in which air was to be compressed by the vehement action of fire below. In a boat suspended from the machine a man was to sit and direct the whole by the opening and shutting of valves.
Another scheme, more ingenious but not less fallacious, was propounded in 1670 by Francis Lana, a Jesuit, for navigating the air. This plan was to make four copper balls of very large dimensions, yet so extremely thin that, after the air had been extracted, they should become, in a considerable degree, specifically lighter than the surrounding medium. Each of his copper balls was to be about 25 feet in diameter, with the thickness of only the 225th par