Niagara Daredevils

Jean Lussier

Jean Lussier

Jean Albert Lussier took the plunge over Niagara Falls on July 4, Lussier, of Springfield, Massachusetts was a 36 year old machinist.

Lussier was born in Concord, New Hampshire to French Canadian parents. He moved back to Quebec at an early age but returned to the United States to become more fluent in English.

When he heard about Charles Stephen's tragic death at Niagara he became interested and shortly thereafter went on vacation to Niagara Falls to learn more about attempting a trip himself.

He began to design and build his own vessel, which was not exactly a barrel but rather a rubber ball. He was the first daredevil to ever choose an inflated apparatus rather then the usual wood barrel type of design.

Lussier's rubber ball was six feet in diameter with inner and outer steel bands for reinforcement. The inside of the ball was lined with three dozen inner tubes with a space in the center for Lussier. A 150 lb rubber ballast was built into the bottom of the ball to keep it from spinning. Jean Albert Lussierbeing helped on shore after his plunge over the falls.

He would later try to capitalize on his adventure by moving to Niagara Falls, New York and selling pieces off his "rubber ball" to tourists for 50 cents a piece. When the original rubber was used up he would find discarded inner tubes. To the locals he seemed to have a never-ending supply.

Lussier would later describe his trip over the falls as smooth, and often spoke of making a return trip over the falls. Lussier died in 1971 of natural causes in Niagara Falls, New York.