Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Thomas Scott Baldwin

  • Started working with hot air balloons during his career as an acrobat in the circus. His act included performing on a trapeze bar attached to an ascending hot air balloon.
  • Made nearly 3,000 balloon ascents throughout the U.S.
  • Considered the “Father of the Modern Parachute” as he created the parachute to be a part of his circus act. Neither he nor his brother ever patented their parachute design and construction. Baldwin later commented, “We never thought anyone else would care to try it.”
  • Pioneered the construction and operation of the first dirigibles in America.
  • In 1911, Baldwin designed his own pusher biplane, one of the first to have a framework with interplane struts of mild steel tubing and wooden frame wings. Baldwin named his invention the “Red Devil”.
  • Awarded a contract to design and build the first U.S. Army Signal Corps dirigible using a Curtiss engine.

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