Contributed by klstacy_home
Description: Big Jump - Leap From BalloonDate: July 7 1887
Newspaper published in: Hartselle, AL
Source: Madison Co., AL Library
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 6
Leaping From a Balloon a Mile and a Half in the Air.
The Descent to the Earth Accomplished in Safety
and With Ease by the Aid of a Parachute.
QUINCY, ILL., July 4.—The much-talked of leap from a balloon was made by Prof. Thos. S. Baldwin at the Fair Grounds in this city to-day. Over thirty thousand people witnessed the performance, which was the most daring and thrilling attempted by man. His original intention was to send the balloon up two thousand feet and hold it captive by a rope and make the jump from that height and afterward draw down the balloon and make a regular voyage. Owing to the wind which prevailed the rope scheme was abandoned. Baldwin ascended to the height of one mile, and then, holding his parachute, launched himself into space. The parachute is an umbrella-shaped affair, with ribs of cord, which are prolonged and fastened to a ring, to which the aeronaut clings. The parachute is made of silk, and is eighteen feet in diameter. The parachute was attached to the netting of the balloon by a small cord, intended to break by the weight of the aeronaut. When the jump was made the parachute was closed, and the first two hundred feet the aeronaut dropped like a rocket. Then, as the parachute expanded the speed became less rapid, and the aeronaut and his strange apparatus floated steadily down like a bird. It was a grand and beautiful sight. The descent was accomplished in three minutes and twenty seconds. Mr. Baldwin struck the ground with some force in a sliding manner, but was not oven jarred by the shock. The descent varied about, a quarter of a mile from the vertical, and Baldwin struck the ground a mile and a half from where the ascent was made. He tried to collapse the balloon before jumping from it, but the apparatus failed to work and the balloon escaped mid was soon out of sight, going east at an altitude of a mile and a half. Baldwin, called by his friends the ".Man Bird," is a native of Quincy, twenty-six years old. He was for several years an attaché of the Herald, but for the last few years has been studying and practicing athletics and ballooning. He made a similar leap in California last winter, the distance being about a thousand feet. The people here are wild over the affair, and regard it as the most wonderful thing ever done by a human being.