Garnerin's first public parachute descent, Paris, 22 October 1797.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Stipple engraving by Simon Petit. Andre-Jacques Garnerin (1769-1823) French aeronaut, gave the first public demonstration of a descent by parachute from a free-flying balloon at a height of 3000 feet (914 metres) in 1797. Thereafter he made exhibition jumps in many countries including one of 8000 feet (2440 metres) over London in 1802. The parachute was not only a safety device to escape from a damaged balloon, but was also used as a further thrill to intrepid adventurers.