Albert Leo Stevens

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Albert Leo Stevens
Stevens 2162732173 7f8bca7963 o.jpg
Stevens ascent from Wanamaker's in Manhattan on July 8, 1911
Born(1877-03-09)March 9, 1877
DiedMay 8, 1944(1944-05-08) (aged 67)
RelativesFrank Stevens (?-1958), brother
Stevens and Harry Nelson Atwood in 1911
balloon at Manhattan Wanamaker's
Albert Leo Stevens balloon at Manhattan Wanamaker's

Albert Leo Stevens (March 9, 1877 – May 8, 1944) was a pioneering balloonist.


He was born on March 9, 1873 or 1877, in Cleveland, Ohio, of Czech parentage.[1][2][3] He had brother Frank Stevens (1875–1958).[4][5]

He began making balloon ascensions in 1889 at age 12, and began manufacturing balloons and dirigibles at the age of 20 in 1893.[1] In 1895, he made his first parachute jump from a church spire in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.[2]

He participated in the Gordon Bennett Balloon Races. He flew one of the very first dirigibles in the United States in 1906.[1]

He opened the first private airfield in the nation in 1909. Stevens also played a key role in the development of safety features for parachutes.[1]

On July 8, 1911, he ascended in a balloon from the Wanamaker's store in New York City heading toward Philadelphia, but he landed in West Nyack, New York.[6]

During World War I he was a US Army instructor.[7]

He died on May 8, 1944, at age 67.[7][8]


There is the Leo Stevens Award. The National Air and Space Museum houses the Leo Stevens Glass Plate Photography Collection, 1900-1915.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Albert Leo Stevens". National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2010-07-09. Albert Leo Stevens (1873-1944) was an accomplished balloonist and aviation pioneer. ...
  2. ^ a b "Albert Leo Stevens". Ballooning History. Retrieved 2010-07-31. Professional balloon & airship pilot/stunt man, 1895-1910 Builder of balloons, airships, & parachutes in New York City; Later had his B-Factory in Hoboken, NJ; Test pilot of Army balloons, Airships, & parachutes, 1907-15;
  3. ^ His birth year has been listed from 1873 through 1877 in various sources. The New York Times used the final age of 71, which gives 1873 as his birth year. The National Air and Space Museum also uses 1873. 1877 is the year on his tombstone and matches the age given by the Associated Press in their obituary.
  4. ^ "Leo and Frank Stevens Picked Up by a Schooner Off Highland Light. Six Hours In The Water. They Were Obliged to Cut Loose from Their Balloon, Which was Lost Floating on the Sea in Their Car Until They Were Saved". The New York Times. May 16, 1897. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
  5. ^ "Frank Stevens Early Chutist. Founder of Awning Concern Here Dies. Made Balloon Flights During Nineties". The New York Times. September 20, 1958. Retrieved 2010-12-26.
  6. ^ "Balloon Sets Sail For Philadelphia. Passes Above Times Square, Gets Lost in a Jersey Fog Bank, and Lands at West Nyack". The New York Times. July 9, 1911. Retrieved 2010-07-31. Wanamaker store at Broadway and Tenth Street at 6 o'clock last night, sailed leisurely across the city, up Seventh Avenue to Times Square, and then floated off across the Hudson and was lost in the haze that hung over Weehawken.
  7. ^ a b "Albert Leo Stevens, 71. Parachute expert. Veteran Balloon Pilot Dies. Was an Army Instructor in First World War". The New York Times. May 9, 1944. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  8. ^ "A. Leo Stevens". Associated Press in the Los Angeles Times. May 9, 1944. A. Leo Stevens, 67, prominent in aviation circles, died last night at the home of his brother Frank ...

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