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History of the Parachute
Faust Vrancic's Homo Volans Parachute
Credit for the invention of the first practical parachute frequently goes to Sebastien Lenormand who demonstrated the parachute principle in 1783. However, parachutes had been imagined and sketched
by Leonardo Da Vinci
(1452-1519) centuries earlier.
Faust Vrancic - Homo Volans
Other early inventors designed parachutes, including Croatian Faust Vrancic who constructed a device based on Da Vinci's drawing. Faust Vrancic jumped from a Venice tower in 1617 wearing a rigid-framed parachute. Faust Vrancic published Machinae Novae, in which he describes in text and picture fifty-six advanced technical constructions, including Vrancic's parachute called the Homo Volans.
Jean Pierre Blanchard - Animal Parachute
Jean Pierre Blanchard (1753-1809) a Frenchman was probably the first person to actually use a parachute for an emergency. In 1785, he dropped a dog in a basket, to which a parachute was attached, from a balloon high in the air.
First Soft Parachute
In 1793, Blanchard claims to have escaped from an exploded hot air balloon with a parachute. However, this was an unwitnessed event. Blanchard, it should be noted, did develop the first foldable parachute made from silk, up until that point all parachutes were made with rigid frames.