Annie Edson Taylor (October 24, 1838 - April 29, 1921) was an American teacher. Desiring to secure her later years financially, she decided she would be the first person to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor used a custom-made barrel for her trip, constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress. On October 24, 1901, her 63rd birthday, the barrel was put over the side of a rowboat, and Taylor climbed in, along with her lucky heart-shaped pillow. After screwing down the lid, friends used a bicycle tire pump to compress the air in the barrel. The hole used for this was plugged with a cork, and she was set adrift near the American shore. The Niagara currents carried the barrel over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Rescuers reached her barrel shortly after the plunge. Taylor was discovered to be alive and relatively uninjured, except for a small gash on her head. She briefly earned money speaking about her experience, but was never able to build much wealth. She spent her final years posing for photographs with tourists at her souvenir stand, working as a clairvoyant, and providing magnetic therapeutic treatments to local residents. She died in 1921 at the age of 82. Photographed by Bain News Service, undated.
July 31st, 2017
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