Parachuting has existed for quite a considerable time. Its history can be traced back to 12th century Chinese devices used for conducting jumping acts from high towers during specific ceremonies. However, actual parachuting can be said to have commenced in the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci coined an idea of creating a pyramid-like makeup that would assist people in escaping tall buildings in the event of emergencies. On the other hand, his idea never materialized but it laid the basis of which modern parachuting relies on.
History of Parachuting
In the 16th century, a mathematician from Hungary, known as Fausto Veranizo, published a book that contained designs portraying a man who flew from a tall tower using a device that looked like a modern parachute. The picture had a flying man using a four-sided sail, attached with about four lines that strapped to the jumping man. This Hungarian claimed to have practically used the device on various occasions to jump from tall towers, but his claims were refuted on basis that there was no substantiation to establish that he actually did.
Parachuting took another twist in its development in 1779 when Joseph Montgolfier and SL Normands decided to study more about parachutes. They used animals in determining whether or not the idea of parachuting would be feasible. These men are considered to be the creators of the first realistic parachute.
Then a renowned balloonist, known as Jean Pierre Blanchard, started to work rigorously on the idea of parachuting in 1785. He used a wide range of animals in assessing the feasibility of the parachutes, and even used his dog as one of the animals to verify that they can be efficient.
The first official parachute jump was witnessed in Paris, France in 1797. The person behind this was Andre Jacques Garnenin, a man who used to charge people to watch his balloon flights. He assembled an uncomplicated parachute which had around thirty six suspension lines and a diameter of about ten meters. He landed safely over a kilometer from his starting point.
After his death, his wife continued with parachuting activities and was among the first women ever to be involved in this industry. In 1837, the first deadly accident in parachuting occurred when Robert Cocking jumped from about 1700 meters. The problem that was believed to be cause these accidents was solved in 1885 with the invention of the harness.
In 1890, parachutes that were folded in bags were used by Germans and in 1912; the first parachute fall was made near St. Louis. Since then, parachuting has become extremely popular with the military and also as a recreational sport.
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