Auguste Piccard's Gondola


August Piccard


Hot Air Balloon Gondola


Creates its own aerial floatation bladder for controlled ascent


Extremely sensitive to gradual atmospheric change


Pressurizing the cabin

Collected by

Warehouse 13





Date of Collection

January 12, 2004



Science was inherent to August Piccard’s family, as he kickstarted their interest in understanding the world. He was certain the illustrious cosmic rays existed in abundance in the upper atmosphere, he just needed a means to get there. With an intense curiosity for engineering and an appetite for adventure, August used his interest in ballooning as a platform to conduct research.

To survive the perils of low pressure, August designed an aluminum gondola to function in lieu of a basket, allowing him and an assistant to manually pressurize the cabin to surface levels. Reaching an astonishing altitude of 15,781 meters (51,775 feet), Piccard was at the mercy of the elements. The temperature wildly fluctuated from subzero to broiling, which depleted most of the water supply. Their rushed safety helmets were cushions attached to baskets. And when they wanted to descend, they had no control and were forced to land on a glacier with only an hour’s reserve of oxygen.

Piccard loved every minute of the process. After many more flights, he turned his attention to the murky depths. By reversing his aeronautical principles, August assembled a lighter than water submersible to probe the deepest oceans. After several failed prototypes, August’s son Jacques took the helm of the unique bathyscaphe to explore the Marianas Trench.


When pressurized and sealed, the gondola will release its own balloon filled with buoyant gases. The pressures within both will adjust accordingly to changes in altitude, allowing the passengers to climb heights without any worries about oxygen starvation. That being said, it doesn’t react well to all the other environmental changes, such as weather, temperature and climactic shifts. A sudden gust or rainstorm can prove catastrophic to the gondola’s stability.

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