Russell Sidney Colley was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts back in 1897. His dream was to design women’s clothing but enrolled at the Wentworth Institute of Technology graduating in 1918. Ten years later he moved to Akron, Ohio working as a mechanical engineer for the B.F. Goodrich Co.
A fellow engineer came with the idea of the first aircraft de-icer, he was given the assignment to make it operational. Of course, he did and that same concept is still in use to this day. In 1935, he helped Wiley Post reach an altitude of 40,000 feet which was unheard of in those days. All in all, he received 65 patents in his career, retiring from NASA he returned to Ohio where he died in 1996. He was 98 years young.
What you may not know about Russell is that the suit he created for Mr. Post was the first pressurized suit used by a pilot. In the 1940’s he helped design the Goodrich XH-5 full pressure suit for the U.S. Army Air Force. all six original Mercury astronauts went to Akron to be fitted by Russell for their suits. He was dubbed the “First Tailor of the Space Age.”
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