Balloon Guys

Image of the Balloon Guys in the masthead is from the Nantional Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s photo library. The photo was taken on May 7, 1936 near a blimp hanger in Washington D.C.

NOAA balloon guys - large

The object which conceals the shorter man’s face is a radiosonde — one of the first ever used by the US Weather Bureau — which the pair are about to launch into the bright sky of late spring.

The word Radiosonde is derived from a combination of the on-board radio transmitter, and sonde which is derived from the old English word for messenger.

Sonde: That which is sent; a message or messenger; hence, also, a visitation of providence; an affliction or trial.
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)