Business and Labor

Flashback Photo: Pioneer Parachute Co., July 1942

Mary Saverick sews a parachute harness

Mary Saverick sews a parachute harness. Library of Congress.

Mary Saverick stitches a parachute harness as part of the war effort in July 1942. The photo, taken by William M. Rittase for the Office of War Information, refers only to the company as ‘an Eastern plant.’

Saverick worked for the Pioneer Parachute Co. in Manchester, Conn., which had developed a nylon parachute material for use by the American military in World War II. A 24-year-old woman employee, Adeline Gray, had first tested the material — successfully. On June 6, 1942, Gray made the first ever jump with a nylon parachute at Brainard Field in Hartford before a group of Army officials.

Gray was from Oxford, Conn., and worked as a licensed parachute rigger and packer when she wasn’t jumping. At the time, she was the only licensed female parachute jumper in Connecticut. The photo below shows Gray folding a parachute, with the caption,

The importance of proper folding and rigging of parachutes is well known to Adeline Gray.

(With thanks to

Adeline Gray, left, first person to jump with a nylon parachute. Library of Congress.

Adeline Gray, first person to jump with a nylon parachute

To Top