Ancient Origins Of Everyday Things:  Parachutes

While many people incorrectly attribute the invention of the parachute to Leonardo da Vinci, it was actually the ancient Chinese who came up with the idea. As far back as the first century B.C., written records detail the exploits of Emperor Shun, a man who lived over 4,000 years ago. In these books, historians detail how he was forced to the roof of a tall building by his father, who intended to kill him by burning the building underneath him.Grabbing a pair of bamboo hats, Shun slowly descended to the ground, laying the framework for the idea of using wind resistance to slow a fall. Later stories talk about thieves escaping their would-be jailors by leaping off tall buildings and, as early as 200 B.C., Chinese acrobats were using parachute-like equipment to entertain the nobility, more than 1,700 years before da Vinci’s supposed “invention.”

Categories: Origin Of Things

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