Whenever someone wonders what could be the most dangerous job, then human canon comes in the list along with tree loggers, electrical power-line installers, steelworkers, and fishers. But none of them matches the danger involved in the job of a human canon. In it, a man is being propelled out of a long cylindrical tube, through the air and attempts to land safely on land but without any safety gear.
The human cannonball came first into being in the late 19th century, George Farini developed a mechanism called projector in 1871, it was nothing that looked like a cannon, but when it was released, it shot a person forward. The projector was made out of Indian rubber and heavy springs, which simply looked like a platform with springs.
George received the patent for the projector on June 13. 1871. Then in 1873, it made its first public appearance for America’s public in Broadway theatre, Niblo’s Garden, New York.
George was quite healthy; because of that, he was never the person who went into the air for the first experiment of human cannonballing. Instead, a young man, Lulu, performed it while being dressed like a lady. He was shot 30 feet in the air and was able to grab the bars of the trapeze hanging on the ceiling. It was appreciated by the crowd. Thus both George and Lulu continued to work with their circus act. By 1875, Lulu became quite popular as the “Queen of the Trapezists”.
Despite being a dangerous and exciting task, human cannonballing always attracted the audience’s attention and ended up giving a thrilling experience. It became the staple of the shows of the best circuses of that time – PT Barnum and Yankee Robinson Circus.
The mechanism of cannon
The shooting mechanism of the cannon is not very complicated. The cannon is technically not at all like a cannon. No gunpowder is used in it like it was used in normal cannons. Instead, it used compressed air or bungee cords to shoot off a living person. The real science behind the cannon was never revealed, but the device mostly worked like a catapult or push sled.
In simple words, a person was made to crawl into the barrel, and the compressed air is used to push the platform under the person at a force of 3,000 to 6,000 pounds per square inch pressure. The platform stops at the muzzle, but the human keeps going higher into the air. The cannon can shoot a person to as far as 200 feet away and can reach an altitude of 75 feet in height. Landing is a very dangerous part of being a human cannonball.