Fire ‘Chute

Although it often promoted dubious devices, Popular Mechanics was capable of mocking the absurdity of some impractical gadgets such as Oppenheimer’s fire escape parachute (Sept. 1909, p. 345). The 1879 patent describes the parachute as being “about four or five feet in diameter” and made of “soft or waxed cloth.” While the parachute was to be connected “in suitable manner, to the upper part of the body,” the main attachment point appears to be the head.


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