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This well illustrated POPULAR MECHANICS article from 1912 concerned two of the earliest parachute drops in history: one fatal while the other had a jollier ending.The first leap was made by F. Rodman Law (dates?), jumping 345 feet from the torch of the Statue of Liberty and successfully landing 30 feet from the water's edge.

"The day following the Statue of Liberty descension, Franz Reichelt (1879 1912), an Austrian tailor who, had been experimenting with a new form of parachute, jumped from the first platform of the Eiffel Tower, 180 feet from the ground. The parachute did not open and Reichelt fell like a stone. His body was a shapeless mass when the police picked it up."

       *Watch the 1912 Film Footage of Franz Reichelt's Unfortunate Parachute Jump*

Two Parachute Pioneers  (Popular Mechanics, 1912)

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