CLOSE
ISTOCK
ISTOCK

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Balloons Are Made

ISTOCK
ISTOCK

Balloons are such a ubiquitous fixture at celebrations, they go largely unnoticed as a pretty impressive feat of ingenuity.

At one time, these harbingers of merriment were made of dried animal bladders and intestines. The first rubber balloons were created in 1824 by scientist Michael Faraday for laboratory use. By the 1930s, balloons were being mass produced and even twisted into animals, and their popularity only increased from there. While it’s hard to come by exact sales figures, it’s estimated that annually, 45 to 50 million balloons are sold in California alone. Manufacturers are able to keep up with this demand thanks to a highly efficient and totally hypnotic production process.

How It's Made has an inside look at what goes in to making a balloon. It starts with pouring dye into a tank of latex, where it’s mixed around for up to 16 hours to saturate the color. Racks of balloon forms are dipped into a tank of coagulate, whose electrochemical charge attracts the colored latex. After the forms are dipped in the latex, a set of spiraling brushes roll up the ends to created the lips for easy handling and blowing. They're then purified in a hot water bath, given a talcum powder and water bath for easy removal, and shot with a bit of air to lift them off the form and on to a conveyer belt. After a turn in the washing machine, they’re taken to their limits in an inflation test.


Romantic, isn't it? (Screenshot)

See the full process in the video below, and prepare to feel the urge to throw a massive party. 

[h/t The Kids Should See This]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
The Force Field Cloak
arrow
Design
This Glowing Blanket Is Designed to Ease Kids' Fear of the Dark
The Force Field Cloak
The Force Field Cloak

Many kids have a security blanket they bring to bed with them every night, but sometimes, a regular blankie is no match for the monsters that invade their imaginations once the lights are off. Now there’s a glow-in-the-dark blanket designed to make children feel safer in bed, no night light required.

Dubbed the Force Field Cloak, the fleece blanket comes in several colorful, glowing patterns that remain invisible during the day. At night, you leave the blanket under a bright light for about 10 minutes, then the shining design will reveal itself in the dark. The glow lasts 8 to 10 hours, just long enough to get a child through the night.

Inventor Terry Sachetti was inspired to create the blanket by his own experiences struggling with scary nighttime thoughts as a kid. "I remember when I was young and afraid of the dark. I would lie in my bed at night, and my imagination would start getting the best of me," he writes on the product's Kickstarter page. "I would start thinking that someone or something was going to grab my foot that was hanging over the side of the bed. When that happened, I would put my foot back under my blanket where I knew I was safe. Nothing could get me under my blanket. No boogiemen, no aliens, no monsters under my bed, nothing. Sound familiar?"

The Force Field Cloak, which has already surpassed its funding goals on both Indiegogo and Kickstarter, takes the comfort of a blanket to the next level. The glowing, non-toxic ink decorating the material acts as a gentle night light that kids can wrap around their whole body. The result, the team claims, is a secure feeling that quiets those thoughts about bad guys hiding in the shadows.

To pre-order a Force Field Cloak, you can pledge $36 or more to the product’s Indiegogo campaign. It is expected to start shipping in January 2018.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Pantone
arrow
Design
Pantone Names 'Ultra Violet' 2018's Color of the Year
Pantone
Pantone

Time to retire your green apparel inspired by 2017’s color of the year: The color experts at Pantone have chosen a new shade to represent 2018. As The New York Times reports, trend followers can expect to see Ultra Violet popping up on runways in coming months.

The decision was made after Pantone scattered a team around the world to search current street styles, high fashion, art, and popular travel destinations for the up-and-coming “it” color. The brand describes the winner, PANTONE 18-3838, as “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade.”

Fashion plays a large part in the selection of the color of the year, but Pantone also considers the broader socio-political atmosphere. Some may see Ultra Violet as a nod to our stormy political climate, but the company’s announcement cast it in a more optimistic light.

“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now,” it reads. “The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.”

The color is associated with some of music’s greatest icons, like David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright also had a special attachment to the color and wore it when he was in need of creative inspiration. When it’s not sparking artistic thinking, purple is sometimes used to promote mindfulness in mediation spaces. So if you’re feeling stressed about whatever the new year holds, stare at the hue above for a few seconds and see if it doesn’t calm you down.

[h/t The New York Times]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios