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Annie Edson Taylor-WW Archives - Antique Photographics Collections
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Annie Edson Taylor-WW

Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor became the first woman to challenge the Niagara Falls in a barrel. On October 24th 1901, her birthday, the 46 year old Taylor rode her barrel over Niagara Falls. She was a school teacher in Bay City, Michigan weighing 160 pounds. Annie Taylor had no previous experience as a daredevil before she came to Niagara Falls seeking fame and fortune.

Taylor’s barrel was built with white Kentucky oak held together by seven iron hoops. It had a 56 cm diameter at the head, then widened to an 86 cm diameter in the middle and finished with a 38 cm diameter at the end. The barrel was 146 cm long and weighed 160 pounds. For ballast (which helps maintain a steady route for ships) a 100 – 200 pound anvil was placed in the barrels bottom.

She began her trip from the north side of Grass Island, just off of the American side of the Niagara River and upstream of Goat Island. She was dressed in a long black dress and a flowery hat. About 183 metres from shore, Mrs. Taylor, with her famous heart shaped pillow, climbed into her barrel. The barrel was packed with padding and a small mattress and the lid was then screwed into place.

At 4:05 p.m., when released, the barrel flowed toward the Canadian side and over the Horseshoe Falls. Mrs. Taylor successfully endured the trip without any major injuries (slight cuts and bruises only). It wasn’t until 4:40 p.m. that rescuers could get close enough to Taylor’s barrel along the Canadian shore to let her out. The top of Taylor’s barrel had to be cut away. When released from the barrel Mrs. Taylor said “nobody ought ever do that again”.

Annie Edson Taylor was famous for a short time but the fortune she sought eluded her. She lost most of her fortune in the hiring of private detectives to find her barrel after her manager disappeared with it. Following her record feat, Taylor managed a decent living by posing for photographs. In today’s culture references made to her feat can be found in various poems, music and television.

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Niagara. Mrs. Taylor in her barrel to make her daring trip.

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Niagara. Mrs. Taylor starting for the upper rapids to risk her life in the Cataract of Niagara.

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Niagara. Mrs. Taylor ready to start above the Falls.

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Niagara. The barrel with its human freight on the way to the dreadful trip.

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Niagara. Assisting Mrs. Taylor out of the barrel after her terrible trip over the Falls.

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Niagara. Helping Mrs. Taylor over the rocks below the Falls.

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Niagara. Mrs. Taylor the first Human Being to go over the Falls and live.

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Mrs. Taylor who made the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

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Rescue of Mrs. Taylor.

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Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor shot the Horseshoe Falls Oct. 24th, 1901, and survived. Drop 165 feet. A feat never before accomplished. Entered Barrel, 1 1/2 miles above Falls. Had 32 pounds of air in Barrel. 100 pound weight on foot of Barrel. Was in Barrel 1 hour and 15 minutes. Rescued on Canadian Shore at Bass Rock, six hundred yards below Falls.

50554.

Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor shot the Horseshoe Falls Oct. 24th, 1901, and survived. Drop 165 feet. A feat never before accomplished. Entered Barrel, 1 1/2 miles above Falls. Had 32 pounds of air in Barrel. 100 pound weight on foot of Barrel. Was in Barrel 1 hour and 15 minutes. Rescued on Canadian Shore at Bass Rock, six hundred yards below Falls.

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The last photo taken of Mrs. Taylor previous to her trip over the Horseshoe Fall. Mrs. Taylor did not leave the barrel after the picture was taken until rescued below the Falls. The men in the picture are William Halloran and Fred Truesdale, who towed her out into the Canadian current.


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