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