November 23, 1870|
Smolenice, Austria-Hungary (now Slovakia)
January 2, 1941 (aged 70)|
Smolenice, Slovak State
Born in Neštich (Hungarian language: Jánostelek), Austria-Hungary (now part of Smolenice, Slovakia), Banič immigrated to the United States and worked as a coal miner in Greenville, Pennsylvania. Having witnessed a plane crash in 1912, Banič constructed a prototype of a parachute in 1913 and tested it in Washington, D.C. before U.S. Patent Office and military representatives, jumping first from a 15-storey building and subsequently from an airplane in 1914. Banič donated his patent, No. 1,108,484 to the U.S. Army. He received little fame or fortune for his invention.
Although the idea of parachutes was known long ago, and Banič's invention was a radically different type of that known today (it was a kind of umbrella attached to the body), it was the first parachute known to be actively used, saving the lives of many American aviators during World War I.
After World War I Banič returned to Czechoslovakia where he helped to explore the Driny karst cave in the foothills of the Little Carpathian Mountains, close to his hometown of Smolenice.
- "Famous Slovaks - Stefan Banic". Heartofeurope.co.uk. 2009. http://www.heartofeurope.co.uk/history_famous3c.htm. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- "Štefan Banič, Konštruktér, vynálezca-(Stefan Banic, Designer, Inventor)" (in Slovak). Slovenská akadémia vied, obituary. http://www.mat.savba.sk/MATEMATICI/matematici.php?cislo=7. Retrieved 2010-10-21.
- "Patent US1108484 - Parachute". Google Patents. Google.com.au. 1914-06-03. http://www.google.com.au/patents/US1108484. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
- US1108484 Parachute patent
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