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The Mystery of Andree



Although No News Has Been Received From The Bold Explorer It Is Believed He Will Be Successful


The three explorers in their balloon. Linked to a larger version with more description.

Although news of Dr. Andree and his intrepid companions, which for weeks has been anxiously looked for but which may be some time yet in reaching their fellow-men, according to the greater or lesser distance from civilization at which they may alight on land again, there is, in the opinion of many experts, every reason to hope that the voyage will be successfully accomplished. There is, indeed, great peril in the undertaking, but so there must be in all Arctic exploration. The risks run by Andree and his companions have the additional danger of novelty, but the experience and the foresight brought to bear upon the venture have, it is to be hoped, rendered the voyagers' balloon equipment nearly perfect for the work in hand.


Before the daring explorer sailed from Spitzbergen he told his friends that if no news were received from him in two months probably nothing would be heard of him for a year, as he would have then landed in such localities that it would take months for him and his party to reach a point where they could communicate with the outside world.

It is believed by some that Andree has struck a southwest wind, as these are the winds that almost usually prevail at that time of the year in the Northern latitudes, and that he has been carried into Siberia. If this is true it may be months before he will be heard from.

For many years past Dr. Andree has been well known as a scientific aeronaut of particular experience in long voyages. He has made many ascents for experimental purposes, building up his knowledge of ballooning possibilities gradually but surely. Two years ago he first startled the world by the formulation at the Geographical Congress of his scheme for crossing the North Polar region in a balloon, and when he had supported his published scheme by arguments clearly thought out and tested by experiment, he soon obtained the financial help necessary to so great an undertaking. The late Alfred Nobel gave him £3,500, and King Oscar of Sweden contributed £1,700, and has since lent the valuable support of his constant interest in the venture.

The balloon, which is called the Eagle, cost $10,000 and is 100 feet high. The most striking characteristic is the guiding and steering apparatus. This consists of guiding ropes of different lengths, the shortest being 1,000 feet. These ropes hang from the bearing ring above the car and drag along the earth or ice. These guiding ropes drag after the balloon and are shifted by the voyager as he wills, so that their weight and hold on the balloon shall affect its course in one direction or another.

The car is, however, the most interesting part of the whole aerial vessel. It is only about 5 feet deep and a little over 6 feet in diameter. It is covered with a lid of basket-work, and in the lid there a trap-door to allow the explorers to pass through. One man sleeps at a time, while the others are at work and at watch. The latter stand upon the lid, partly screened from the bitter wind by canvas. At about the height of their waist there is a large ring of about the same diameter as the car, and on this are firmly fixed the scientific instruments of the expedition. In fact, while they stand on the lid of the car, watching their progress through the air, they are at the same time standing in the middle of their observatory recording whatever there may be to note.

The crew of the Eagle numbers but three -- Dr. Andree himself, Dr. Strindberg, a young man of 25, who has already won some success in science, and Herr Fraenckell (sic), an engineer. Andree himself is said by all who know him to be of the stuff of which great explorers are made-- skillful, steadfast and dauntlessly courageous-- and the past history of Arctic exploration has shown again and again what men of this calibre can accomplish.

Reproduced with permission: L.L. Lewis, Explorations (Newspaper Clippings Related to Polar Exploration), Vol. 1 & 2. University Archives, Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, KS.



Original Source:

Philadelphia Times. Philadelphia, PA. August 15, 1897


K . Bailey, and S. Snodgrass, Wathena Middle School, U.S.D. 406, Wathena, KS, 66090.

Lesson(s) Related to This Article:

1. Balloon Innovations - Grades 5-9



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