Parachute, 16th century

Parachute, 16th century

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Parachute in use as a man descends from a tower, coloured 16th century engraving. The engraving entitled "Homo Volans" (flying man) seems to be the first clearly printed, well-defined depiction of a parachute-like device in use. Four ropes can be seen to form the man's  harness that attaches to the four corners of an oblong 'sail'. It was published in Machinae Novae (1595), a book of inventions by Faust Veranzio, financed by the French King Louis XIII and the Tuscan Duke Cosimo II de Medici. Among Veranzio's numerous inventions the most famous was the parachute depicted here, which he had tested in Venice.

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