Ildebrando Zacchini

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Ildebrando Zacchini
DiedJuly 17, 1948(1948-07-17) (aged 79–80)
Resting placeMyrtle Hill Memorial Park, Tampa
Known forhuman cannonball act
Spouse(s)Madelina Dal Paos (1872 – 1963)
ChildrenHugo Zacchini, Edmondo Zacchini

Ildebrando Zacchini (1868 – July 17, 1948) was a Maltese-born painter, inventor, and travelling circus owner.[1]

Inspired by the works of Jules Verne, Zacchini came up with an idea for a human cannonball act.[2] Instead of explosives, Zacchini's human-firing cannon used compressed air, and he first tested it on his son Hugo Zacchini.

The idea for the cannonball act was initially proposed to the Italian government as a military maneuver to be used in conjunction with parachutes; when the proposal was rejected Zacchini looked to use the technique as part of an entertainment act.[3]

Zacchini died in Tampa, Florida in 1948. Members of the Zacchini family were later inducted into the Ringling Brothers Circus Hall of Fame.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rene Zacchini left circus to serve in Florida House..." St. Petersburg Times. April 22, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  2. ^ "Zacchini Cannon Enters Museum". St. Petersburg Times. March 31, 1976. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  3. ^ "'Trigger man' behind human cannonball dies". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. January 11, 1993. Retrieved April 23, 2010.

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