in the beginning – LIGHTER-THAN-AIR
Eustace purchased, repaired and learned to fly an old coal-gas filled balloon called ‘The Queen of the West’ that enabled himself and Oswald to set up a showman aeronautical business giving displays at flower shows (Chesterfield), galas (York) and fairgrounds whilst Horace was still in Mexico.
Eustace and Oswald constructed their very first balloon in Horace’s laboratory in Hove, Sussex, where in 1902 they formed a partnership to design and manufacture spherical balloons. They produced balloons for the Aero Club (The Hon. Charles Rolls, Griffiths Brewer et al) and secured a contract to produce them for the Indian Government.
Production continued until 1919 in railway arches 75 and 81. Coal gas and a launch site were on hand at the adjacent Battersea gas works.