The Stunt Dive Terminal Velocity Surface Tension Carnival Sideshow Photograph and the World Record Dive (and Lofty Rockett)
Terminal Velocity. Our object is falling so fast here that when I negotiated a price with the vendor we both lamented the stuntman wasn't in the picture. Well, he is, but neither of us saw him. Another example of the beauty one finds enlarging photographs. The diver is indeed there, but he has been rendered to emulsion fuzz...a speedy plummet to a swimming pool apparently built just for the show. A wonderfully diverse group watches rapt, with virtually every face turned upward, be they top hatted or bareheaded. Children abound. Nearby porches are have onlookers as well, and one porch contains a couple on comfortable chairs. It appears a ball-toss cage is constructed right next to the pool, balls for pitching are seen. The carnival was constructed in such tight quarters, the ball net could have slowed the daredevil's fall should his aim have faltered.
The photograph, which is signed in pencil in front "Wm. S. Millikin" is dated in pencil on the reverse along with the date May 7, 1915 and for some reason the name "Lofty Rockett" which could be a name or an expression.
Terminal Velocity is a factor in any stunt involving a fall, be the target stone or water. A belly flop is far more dangerous than a clean surface slice due to surface tension, which at a good speed is as hard as a rock. In fact, trick divers have been known to drop small rocks before their jump in order to create ripples which have the effect of breaking the surface tension. As the surface of the pool appears smooth, there was no cheating. However, terminal velocity would not be reached here as the ladder appears to be maybe 50 to 100 feet. Now I am not a scientist, but I do not believe terminal velocity is achieved at this height.
Some accounts say the world's record for the highest dive into water is 172 feet. Here it is...
Original Photograph Untitled (Stunt Diver) by "Wm S. Millikin" 1915 collection Jim Linderman