The invention was the parachute which was invented by the French scientist, Louis Lenormand, in 1783. His first jump was an experimental descent from a tree-top, suspended beneath two parasols. (The parasol is so-named because it gives protection against the sun, and the parachute gives protection against the sun, and the parachute gives protection against a chute or fall.)
The parachute is an example of an invention that came at just the right time, for the first flights in balloons were made in the very same year. The first true parachute jump was made from a balloon in 1797, when Andre-Jacques Garnerin safely descended 680 m (2,230 ft) beneath an enormous umbrella-shaped canopy.