Lighter-than-air craft consist of three distinct types: Airships, which are by far the most important, Free Balloons, and Kite Balloons, which are attached to the ground or to a ship by a cable. They derive their appellation from the fact that when charged with hydrogen, or some other form of gas, they are lighter than the air which they displace. Of these three types the free balloon is by far the oldest and the simplest, but it is entirely at the mercy of the wind and other elements, and cannot be controlled for direction, but must drift whithersoever the wind or air currents take it. On the other hand, the airship, being provided with engines to propel it through the air, and with rudders and elevators to control it for direction and height, can be steered in whatever direction is desired, and voyages can be made from one place to another-always provided that the force of the wind is not sufficiently strong to overcome the power of the engines. The airship is, therefore, nothing else than a dirigible balloon, for the engines and other weights connected with the structure are supported in the air by an envelope or balloon, or a series of such chambers, according to design, filled with hydrogen or gas of some other nature.This content is for members only.