The hundredth anniversary of the issuing of U.S. patent to Slovak Stefan Banic for his invention of parachute was commemorated on Saturday in his hometown, Smolenice in Western Slovakia.
Banic invented the first parachute ever in 1913. A year later, he tested his device by jumping from a 15-floor building in Washington D.C. before U.S. Patent Office and military representatives. Banic donated his patent to the U.S. Army. The parachute was radically different from the type known today, essentially an umbrella attached to the body. It helped save lives of many American aviators during the First World War (1914-1918).
"He was the first man to invent the device aimed to protect pilots," said Viktor Timura of Military Paratroopers Club.
Banic's invention was different from contemporary parachutes, Timura said. "His parachute had a metal structure attached to the pilot's waist. A canvas was affixed to it that opened during the jump and stretched taut."
According to Timura, Banic's invention has never gone into mass production because later parachutes started to be produced in the form we know today.