"Father of the Space Suit"Russell Colley's Original Mercury Spacesuit Display. A 37" tall x 12" wide perfect replica of the spacesuit worn by the Mercury astronauts of the period. This diminutive suit is incredibly detailed and was sewn by the same five women who tailored the suits for Alan Shepard, John Glenn, and the rest. It features aluminized nylon material, heavy-duty zippers, nylon webbing, straps and laces, an authentic (trimmed) NASA patch, a metal helmet attached by a continuous zipper (with a B.F. Goodrich decal on the reverse), fingerless gloves, and silver-painted child's shoes. Inside the suit is a ventriloquist puppet named Horace Power (a play on the word "horsepower"). This model was used by Mercury space suit inventor Russell Colley as a prop as he travelled around the country speaking to school and community groups about the development of the suit for the American space program. It has been wired for sound and video and includes the necessary monitor, wiring, amplifier, etc. needed to allow Horace to interact with interested viewers (not tested by us). This is one of the most unique items we have had the privilege to offer. Some lucky bidder is going to be able to add this to their space collection and display. Not only is it historically important, but just think how much fun you could have letting your friends talk and listen to Horace! The suit is in fine condition.
Russell Colley (1899-1996) was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts, and graduated from the Wentworth Institute of Technology before moving to Akron, Ohio, in 1928 to work as an engineer for the B. F. Goodrich Company. He was quite the inventor and, in 1934, was tasked with designing and making a device to allow aviator Wiley Post to reach higher altitudes. This was how the pilot pressure suit was invented; Colley sewed the original on his wife's sewing machine. Post eventually reached 47000 feet in that suit. In the 1950s, NASA called upon Goodrich and Colley to develop a suit for use in space. Colley personally fitted space suits for all six of the astronauts that flew in the Mercury program. He also invented a pair of gloves with fingertip lights at the request of John Glenn. NASA awarded Colley their Distinguished Public Service Medal in 1994 for his pioneering work.
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