Friday, August 9, 2013

Annie Taylor

OK, we wrap up Daredevil Week with a really good example. The picture above is of Annie Taylor on her 63rd birthday. She is about to become the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a Barrel and live. Annie was concerned about her financial situation, and did not want to end her life in poverty, so decided to do this stunt in order to generate wealth for her golden years. The funny thing is that she had been a teacher, and had never done publicity stunts like this. She did survive the stunt, but unfortunately while people found it interesting, she was not able to mount a speaking tour, or otherwise financially gain from her stunt. She died at the ripe old age 82, penniless.


  1. My guess is that she did not have a publicity man working before her feat to generate curiosity about her. Had he created a venue for an attempt, I think she might have profited from her show.

    In the past as in the present,a few actors and sportsmen have managed to build a reputation and also keep their integrity. But only a few

  2. Check out the Niagara Falls Barrel Museum. Very cool info. They say that on this attempt by Annie they pumped up the barrell to 30 PSI. I assume to keep water out if it leaked and also to make it more buoyant. One guy suffered 2 broken kneecaps and a broken jaw on his succsesful attempt over the falls and died years latter after slipping on an orange peal. Another guy put an anvil inside the barrell for ballast and tied himself to it. The only thing left inside the barrell was his arm still attached to the anvil.

  3. The 30 PSI thing has to be for leaks, as well as to reinforce the structural integrity. Nothing to do with buoyancy, as the more air you pump in, the less buoyant it becomes (even if just by the tiniest amount).

    I bet that much pressure could hurt her if it ripped and was let loose at once. Rupture an eardrum at the very least.

    Would love to see the museum, btw.

  4. Well, the person in the photo has a moustache, so I wonder if our Annie was already in the barrel. She did indeed survive, but she always said it wasn't something she'd recommend doing again. An awful lot of people have died trying to go over the falls.