Today in History: The First Parachutist

| October 22, 2018


While Leonardo da Vinnci is credited for having conceived the concept, and Louis-Sebastien Lenormand for testing it via descent from a tree with 2 umbrellas in 1783, the parachute was successfully designed and implemented by Andre-Jacqes Garnerin, French balloonist and actual inventor of the frameless parachute.

On October 22nd, 1797, Garnerin jumped from a hydrogen balloon at some 3,200 feet over Paris, having constructed a silk canopy 23 feet in diameter and attached to a basket with suspension lines. He climbed into the basket and cut the parachute from the balloon, landing un-smoothly, but un-scathed just half a mile from his take-off point. Ganernin proved that the device could slowing the fall of a person or object from a great height and set the stage for what was to come: his spectacular descent from 8,000 feet during an exhibition in England in 1802.

Garnerin studied under ballooning pioneering professor Jacque Charles; married his student Jeanne Genevieve Labrosse, who became the first female parachutist; and held the the prestigious position of Chief Aeronaut of France until his death following an accident at a balloon construction site.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.



First Use of a Frameless Parachute,  Wikipedia
Special News Slide, Courtesy of EdLab Studios


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