The History of Parachutes

By | 05.05.2017

Word List. Unit 46

  • An addict is a person who cannot stop doing or having something.
    She was a coffee addict. She had more than three cups each day.
  • When something is archeological, it relates to archeology.
    They found archeological evidence that proved an ancient species of man.
  • Archeology is the study of ancient people through their artifacts.
    He studied archeology to learn more about ancient Egyptian culture.
  • To brainstorm is to have a lot of ideas about a certain topic.
    The students met after school to brainstorm ideas for their assignment.
  • A budget is the amount of money available to spend on something.
    His budget for food was very tight.
  • When something is chaotic, it is crazy, confused, and hectic.
    The first day of school can be chaotic fora new student.
  • To cite something is to mention it as an example or as proof of something.
    She cited six reasons that the school needed to build new classrooms.
  • To correspond is to match or to be similar to something.
    The boy’s story didn’t correspond with his mother’s version.
  • A courtyard is an outdoor area that is surrounded by the walls of a building.
    During the summer, the courtyard is a nice place to have lunch.
  • An estate is a large area of land owned by a family or organization.
    He lived on his father’s estate in the country.
  • Fraud is the crime of gaining money by lying or by tricking people.
    Experts say that credit card fraud increases around the holidays.
  • Hydrogen is a gas that has no taste, color, or smell.
    Balloons filled with hydrogen can easily float away if you aren’t careful.
  • Integrity is honesty and good morals.
    The principal had a lot of integrity.
  • To knit is to make fabric by connecting strings together.
    My grandmother knitted me a sweater.
  • An outlook is a person’s opinion or way of thinking about something.
    He changed his outlook about rats after he read a book about them.
  • A parachute is a device that helps people and things fall to the ground safely.
    They used parachutes dropped from airplanes to send supplies to the civilians.
  • When something is prehistoric, it is from a time when there was no written history.
    The scientists found prehistoric pots used by the people in the area.
  • A proponent is a person who supports an idea or a plan.
    He was a proponent of using environmentally friendly products.
  • To refine something is to make it better by making changes.
    The principal refined his method of controlling students over the years.
  • To restrict is to limit something and prevent it from getting bigger.
    The club restricted the amount of members.

The History of Parachutes

Scientists who study archeology say that there may be some evidence of prehistoric parachutes. But the first written history of the device comes from China about 2,100 years ago. Scientists cite an ancient book that describes parachutes. However, there is no archeological evidence that proves that an actual parachute was ever made. Later, people from northern Africa and Italy also had ideas about a similar invention. In fact, a Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing corresponds closely with the modern parachute design! In 1783, French scientist Sebastian Lenormand invented the first modern parachute.

Sebastian brainstormed with other scientists to come up with a way to help people jump safely out of burning buildings. He thought the solution was to give people an object to restrict their speed while they traveled toward the ground. Many people thought that he was up to some kind of fraud, but Sebastian had a lot of integrity. His budget was limited, so he first tested his theory by using two umbrellas. He jumped out of a tree and found that the umbrellas worked.

Next, he refined his invention. Rather than using umbrellas, he knit a large parachute. Finally, he jumped off a tall building on a French estate and landed safely in the courtyard. Sebastian’s work gave another man an idea. Jean-Pierre Blanchard had a different outlook than Sebastian. He was a hot air balloon addict. He was one of the first people to ride in a hot air balloon powered by hydrogen gas. He was a proponent of using the parachutes to exit from hot air balloons. Starting in 1785, he used his dog to show that animals could land safely from hot air balloons by using parachutes. Then, in 1793, he was faced with a chaotic experience. The hot air balloon he was riding in burst and started to fall. He was forced to use a parachute himself. And much to his relief, it saved his life!

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