André-Jacques Garnerin (January 31, 1769 – August 18, 1823) was a balloonist and the inventor of the frameless parachute. He was appointed Official Aeronaut of France.
Garnerin was born in Paris. He was captured by British troops during the first phase of the Napoleonic Wars 1792–1797, turned over to the Austrians and held a prisoner in Buda in Hungary for three years.
Balloons and Parachutes 
Garnerin, a student of the ballooning pioneer professor Jacques Charles, was involved with the flight of hot air balloons, and worked with his brother Jean-Baptiste-Olivier Garnerin (1766–1849) in most of his ballooning activities. Eventually he was appointed Official Aeronaut of France.
Garnerin regularly staged tests and demonstrations at Parc Monceau, Paris from 1797, but these became a cause célèbre when he announced in 1798 that his next flight would include a woman as a passenger. Although the public and press were in favour, he was forced to appear in front of officials of the Central Bureau of Police to justify his project. They were concerned about the effect that reduced air pressure might have on the organs of the delicate female body and loss of consciousness, plus the moral implications of flying in such close proximity. Unsatisfied with Garnerin's responses, the police issued an injunction against him, forbidding the ascent on the grounds that the young woman was committing herself to the venture without any idea of the possible outcome. After further consultation with both the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of the Police the injunction was overturned on the grounds that "there was no more scandal in seeing two people of different sexes ascend in a balloon than it is to see them jump into a carriage." They also agreed that the decision of the woman showed proof of her confidence in the experiment and a degree of personal intrepidity.
The young citoyenne who will accompany me is delighted to see the day approach for the journey. I shall ascend with her from the Parc Monceau,[Note 1] some time during the next ten days.
On 8 July 1798 a large number of spectators gathered in the Parc Monceau to witness the ascent. By all accounts Citoyenne Henri was young and beautiful, and she and Garnerin took several turns around the park to the applause of the crowd before she was assisted into the basket of the balloon by the astronomer, Jérôme Lalande. The balloon trip passed without incident and the journey ended at Goussainville about 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the north of Paris.
Garnerin began experiments with early parachutes based on umbrella-shaped devices and carried out the first parachute descent (in the gondola) with a silk parachute on October 22, 1797 at Parc Monceau, Paris (1st Brumaire, Year VI of the Republican calendar). Garnerin's first parachute resembled a closed umbrella before he ascended, with a pole running down its center and a rope running through a tube in the pole, which connected it to the balloon. Garnerin rode in a basket attached to the bottom of the parachute; at a height of approximately 3,000 feet (900 m) he severed the rope that connected his parachute to the balloon. The balloon continued skyward while Garnerin, with his basket and parachute, fell. The basket swung violently during descent,[Note 2] then bumped and scraped when it landed, but Garnerin emerged uninjured. The white canvas parachute was umbrella-shaped and approximately 23 feet (7 m) in diameter.
Touring England 
André-Jacques held the position of Official Aeronaut of France, so with his wife Jeanne Geneviève he visited England in 1802 during the Peace of Amiens and the couple completed a number of demonstration flights. In the evening of September 21, 1802, André-Jacques ascended in his hydrogen balloon from the Volunteer Ground in North Audley Street, Grosvenor Square and made a parachute descent to a field near St Pancras. This gave rise to the English popular ballad:
- Bold Garnerin went up
- Which increased his Repute
- And came safe to earth
- In his Grand Parachute.
He also made his second English balloon ascent with Edward Hawke Locker on 5 July 1802 from Lord's Cricket Ground, travelling the 17 miles (27.4 km) from there to Chingford in just over 15 minutes and carrying a letter of introduction signed by the Prince Regent to give to anyone should he crash land. However, when the war between France and Great Britain resumed they were forced to pack up and return to the continent where, on October 3–4, 1803, he covered a distance of 245 miles (395 km) between Paris and Clausen, Germany, with his balloon.
In most of his ballooning activities Garnerin worked with his brother Jean-Baptiste-Olivier Garnerin (1766–1849). 
Jeanne Garnerin 
His student Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse, who later became his wife, was both a balloonist and the first female parachutist. Labrosse first flew on 10 November 1798, one of the earliest women to fly in a balloon, and on 12 October 1799 Labrosse was the first woman to parachute, from an altitude of 900 meters.
Elisa Garnerin 
His niece Elisa Garnerin, (born 1791), learned to fly ballons at age 15 and made 39 professional parachute descents from 1815 to 1836 in Italy, Spain, Russia, Germany and France.[Note 3]
Garnerin died in a construction accident when he was hit by a beam while making a balloon in Paris.
See also 
- Citoyenne Henri - a woman who accompanied André-Jacques Garnerin on a trip by balloon on 8 July 1798 from the Parc Monceau in Paris.
- Parc Monceau is in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and is famed for Garnerin's public exploits. It was formerly known as 'Parc de Mousseaux' and is referred to as such in many sources. (Mousseaux-sur-Seine is a small town approximately 70 kilometres from Paris.)
- In 1804 Jérôme Lalande introduced a vent in the canopy to eliminate violent oscillations.
- Elizabeth Garnerin was especially popular in Italy, where she was hailed as the "Prima Aeroporista" (or First Parachutist) of France when she made her twenty-second and twenty-third descents in Milan (March 5 and April 5, 1824). The crowds were delighted when she waved both French and Italian flags from the basket.
- Google Books - A handy book of curious information by William Shepard Walsh
- Encyclopedia Britannica - André-Jacques Garnerin
- Gutenberg - Genesis of Napoleonic Propaganda, Hanley
- By Garrett Soden (2005). Defying Gravity: Land Divers, Roller Coasters, Gravity Bums, and the Human Obsession with Falling. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-393-32656-7. Retrieved 2009-02-24.
- Techno Science - Profile Andre Garnerin
- History Today Volume: 52 Issue: 9 2002 - Monsieur Garnerin Drops In by John Lucas
- Flights of Fancy
- Thomas Smith, A Topographical and Historical Account of the Parish of St. Mary-le-Bone
- Image of the second ascent
- Science Photo Library - Elisa Garnerin
- Google Books, Histoire des idées aéronautiques avant Montgolfier, by Fernand Sorlot, Paris, 1943
- Aeronautics and Space Flight Collections by Catherine Scott, 1985
- Women in sports - Elisa Garnerin
Other Sources 
- Walsh, William (1913). A Handy Book of Curious Information. London: Lippincott. p. 942. Searchable at Google Books - A handy book of curious information by William Shepard Walsh
- "World's First Parachute Jump made in 1797". George Galloway essay on Andre-Jacques Garnerin
- M F Wright - profile of Andre Garnerin
- From The Big Umbrella, by John Lucas, Drake Publishers Inc. Great Britain, 1973.
- The Silken Angels, (early 1960s) [author unknown]
- Parachuting, Dan Poynter