Without Annie's Barrel
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Oct. 24, 1901, a school teacher named Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to plunge over Niagara Falls in a pickle barrel. After lining her barrel with cushions and installing a leather harness, her assistants sent her over the falls on her birthday. The 63-year-old survived and ultimately inspired many copycats with her one-time stunt for fame.
Annie Edson Taylor
Annie Edson Taylor, a 63-year-old schoolteacher, was the first person to take the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel. “In July 1901, while reading an article about the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, she learned of the growing popularity of two enormous waterfalls located on the border of upstate New York and Canada. Strapped for cash and seeking fame, Taylor came up with the perfect attention-getting stunt: She would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
With the help of two assistants, Taylor strapped herself into a leather harness inside an old wooden pickle barrel five feet high and three feet in diameter. With cushions lining the barrel to break her fall, Taylor was towed by a small boat into the middle of the fast-flowing Niagara River and cut loose. Knocked violently from side to side by the rapids and then propelled over the edge of Horseshoe Falls, Taylor reached the shore alive, if a bit battered, around 20 minutes after her journey began. After a brief flurry of photo-ops and speaking engagements, Taylor’s fame cooled, and she was unable to make the fortune for which she had hoped.” – History.com