Parachutes - History of Parachutes


Throughout history, the human race has had an unquenchable desire to fly through the air. Although accomplished through planes and hangliders, the longing to free-fall needed to be met. Therefore, a parachute was required to safely assist these free falling persons to the ground.

The earliest evidence of parachutes came from the Europe during the Renissance period of the 1400s. Numerous sketches and models can be found in a number of books, including some published by Leonardo da Vinci. Although mainly outlandish and entirely implausible, most of these parachutes would have resulted in the imminent death of anyone who tried to use them. Stories from this period mention injuries and death due to early parachuting tests.

Although once dangerous and deadly, the modern parachute is relatively safe. The design of this chute was first built during in 1793 when Louis-Sebastien Lenormand used the device to safely jump from a building in France. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, parachuters worked to compact the device and increase the safety and stability of the landing.

Until 1907, the parachute was mainly used for entertainment purposes. However, with World War I becoming more imminent, it was crucial that the military develop parachutes for plane jumpers. On March 1, 1912 the first parachute jump from a fixed-wing aircraft was attempted by U.S. Army Captain Albert Berry. Using a parachute pack attached to his back, he made a successful jump over the city of St. Louis Missouri. Soon after, this design was used in future military jumps throughout the world.

From here, the development of the parachute continued strong throughout WWII, as well as the numerous wars to follow. Today, the parachute is used for both military and entertainment purposes. As skydiving has become an activity repeatedly done for pleasure and necessity, the use of the parachute has increased dramatically. With it's increased demand the development and safety have also improved, allowing for the human race to fly through the air once again.

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