WWII Parachute Crash Test Dummies?

World War Two parachute crash test dummy.

World War Two parachute crash test dummy. World War Two parachute crash test dummy. World War Two parachute crash test dummy head. World War Two parachute crash test dummy.

I know very little about these wonderful objects, but Obsolete, a combination antiques shop and contemporary art gallery in Venice, California, claims that they are WWII Parachute Crash Tests Dummies. The images are taken from their Facebook page, where it also says each dummy weighs up to 225lbs.

I’d love to know more about these splendid models and their history, but information is surprisingly scarce; here is a great history of the parachute, for example, but there is no mention of dummies being used for testing purposes. This article about the history and use of crash test dummies does mention U.S. Air Force dummy tests, but claims that their first use wasn’t until 1949, when a model named “Sierra Sam” was used to test aircraft ejection seats. The Wikipedia article on parachutes, however, makes mention of a 75kg dummy used to test a parachute dropped from the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 1911, although I have no access to the listed source in order to independently verify that claim.

I’ve tried messaging Obsolete to try to get more background information on these specific dummies, and will post an update if I get a response. In the meantime, if any readers know something about these dummies, or the history of parachute crash test dummies more generally, please post a comment or send a message!

 

Elsewhere on the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things:

Wedding dress made from a parachute that saved the grrom during World War Two.

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10 thoughts on “WWII Parachute Crash Test Dummies?

  1. Dummies did exist, but they were nowhere near as elaborate as this guy. Decoys and early test dummies were usually a mix of wood and stuffed canvass and were generally not as heavy- perhaps 90-120lbs.
    He sure looks like an early flying as with his molded Aviator’s jacket! ^^

  2. Great post! I’ve never seen anything like that dummy before. There were some less elaborate dummy paratroopers dropped over France during the D-Day invasion to trick the Germans into launching attacks in the wrong direction. There is some info on them here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradummy

    Also while I’m here I’d like to nominate your blog for the Reality Blog Award. Love reading about the quirky gems you find!

    http://historygeek.co.nz/2012/11/02/history-geeks-six-month-anniversary-and-an-award/

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