Leſt: Glenn L. Martin, aircraſt designer, exhibition aviator, and one of the first aviators to appear in movies. The mild climate and scenery of southern California attracted the new motion picture industry which hired Martin for aviation scenes. Photo: Author’s collection

Below: Young “Tiny” Broadwick was an exhibition sensation making parachute jumps from balloons. She met Glenn Martin in California during 1912. She became the first woman to parachute jump from a plane when she went up with Martin on June 21, 1913. In 1914, Broadwick demonstrated the use of a parachute for military use, at San Diego’s North Island, making a free-fall until manually pulling the chord to open the parachute. Photo: North Carolina State Archives

“Stevens Safety Chute” and his “Life Pack.” Stevens made test-jumps of his own inventions from aircraft above the fields on Long Island, as well as jumps made by Rodman Law. Law used one of Stevens’ parachutes when he jumped 300 feet from the flame of the Statue of Liberty on February 2, 1912. Stevens often encouraged women to become balloon pilots, and learn how to use a parachute. He worked with the famous actress, Pearl White in the silent films “The Perils of Pauline” in which she is rescued from danger in a balloon. Steven described his “Life Pack” in the 1912 issue of Aeronautics magazine: “The parachute itself is wrapped in a square cloth. As the jump is made the parachute opens up, the cloth cover remaining with the belts. A pin with spring affords release.” Stevens held a patent for a rip cord which was used in future parachute designs by others including Floyd Smith. A. Leo Stevens died at the home of his brother in 1944 while en route to Washington, D.C. to patent his latest parachute.

FLOYD Young Floyd Smith married Hilder while they performed aerial acts in a traveling circus. Together they

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learned how to build an aircraft and by 1912 had moved near Los Angeles, CA, where they met Glenn L. Martin [1886-1955] at his flight school in Griffith Park. Martin hired Floyd to maintain aircraft and, when Floyd earned FAI license #207, became Martin’s flight instructor. Hilder reportedly worked as a part-time mechanic. In 1917, Smith won the Aero Club of America’s Merit Award for an altitude record in a hydroaeroplane. At the onset of WWI, Smith left California to work at McCook Field in Ohio where he began designing parachutes. His first backpack-style parachute was used in a successful jump in 1919. Floyd continued to design parachutes for various companies, moving his family to Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut until they finally settled in California. In his later years, Smith formed a parachute company with his son Prevost, in San Diego, CA. In a 2009 publication by the President of the Parachute Industry Association, Smith was lauded as “the man who made more contributions to parachute engineering and design than any other man in history.” And yet, Smith’s parachute designs were copied and he did not receive significant compensation for his

inventions. The entire Patent Design application for Floyd Smith’s “PARACHUTE PACK AND HARNESS, ETC.” – Number 1,462,456, can be seen online: US1462456 “Tiny,” “Sis” and Glenn Among those who worked with

Martin and exhibited the first parachute jumps from an aircraft were “Tiny” Broadwick [1893-1978] and Hilder Smith [1890-1977]. Like Stevens, the life story of

“Tiny” Broadwick is vague. The “First Lady of Parachuting” was born Georgia Ann Thompson, who became the “step-daughter” of a traveling carnival parachutist, Charles Broadwick. Light-weight and short, teenager “Tiny” made her first parachute jump from a balloon in 1908 launching her exhibition career.

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