From Ohio History Central
James Floyd Smith invented the first parachute to use a ripcord. His invention was the predecessor of the modern parachute.
During World War I, Smith worked for the United States Navy at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. While in Dayton, Smith developed his parachute. It was twenty-eight feet in length, and Smith deployed it from a backpack by pulling a ripcord. He tested the parachute on April 28, 1919, successfully parachuting from an altitude of 1,500 feet.
Following World War I, Smith worked for several companies, designing new parachutes. He eventually formed the Pioneer Parachute Company in Connecticut and the Smith Parachute Company in San Diego, California.