The first parachutes were constructed out of lightweight and durable fabrics, such as linen or silk. Most modern parachutes are constructed primarily out of nylon.
The concept of using a device to slow a person's movement through the air can be found sketched in manuscripts as early as 1470. The device was first sketched by an unknown person but was later sketched by Leonardo da Vinci in 1485. These early parachutes usually had rigid frames made out of wood. It would take until the early 1900s for the practice of folding parachutes into wearable packs to become mainstream, with the pack-style parachute becoming the dominant design of most modern parachutes.