The three explorers in their balloon. Black and white etching showing each looking out one side of the balloon with ice and water below. Sails are attached to sides of the balloon.
The balloon in which Professor Andree sailed away for the north pole was built much after the fashion of other balloons. It had, or has, if it be still intact and not wrecked in the arctic seas, one distinctive feature. That is a strong guide rope which serves two all essential purposes. It holds the balloon at a uniform height and so prevents the gas from being diminished by expansion and overflow. It also serves as a keel to the floating vessel, which is equipped with three large and easily worked sails. With the aid of the keel the balloon can drift before the wind at an angle to the general direction. This gives the explorer the advantage of not being at the complete mercy of every shift in the upper current and enables him to hold his course or an approximate course. Andree counted upon a speed of from twelve to fifteen miles an hour. At this rate he would reach the pole in about one week, the only necessity being a constant and favorable wind. This balloon has, or had, a capacity of 170,000 cubic feet in diameter at its widest part. The basket or car is seven feet in diameter and has a depth of five feet. Above the car is an observatory. There is room in the basket for one person at a time. It is used as a living and sleeping room. Andree and his companion were to take turns at the watch. The observatory was equipped with sextants, glasses, and other instruments. The explorer did not go without fire, as is the custom in most balloon ascensions. A small stove was taken along which was to have been used for cooking purposes only. It was hung twenty-four or twenty-five feet below the car, where there is minimum danger of setting fire to the gas that might pour out of the opening.