Floyd Smith Collection

Floyd Kenton Smith was born in Chicago, IL in 1894 and was raised there. He and his wife, Hilder, were both trapeze artists in a circus until 1912, when Smith built his own airplane and began doing exhibition flights. When he gave up his plane to pay off debts, both he and and his wife turned to parachute jumping. Shortly thereafter, Smith got involved in the manufacture of parachutes, having designed and experimented with different models of chutes while he was a jumper. Eventually he created his own Floyd Smith Aerial Equipment Co., on behalf of which he engaged in several lawsuits against patent infringement on his designs. He was also engaged by the military during World War I to design a safer unattached parachute for new aircraft