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- The precise origin of the kite is obscure, however scholars believe it was developed either in China, Malasia, Indonesia or the South Pacific islands (polynesia)
Muna, Sulawesi Cave paintings, 9000-5000 BC !!!
Polynesian Fishing Kites Photo: British Museum Materials: Wood, rushes, feathers, and shells, which produced a rattle in flight Thin strands of vine or braided fibers for flying/tethering line. A native bark cloth (tapa), leaves, and braided reeds were used for sail material. Photo: Pitt-Rivers Museum
Chinese Kites Materials: Bamboo or similarly strong reed like branches for framing structure. Thin strands of vine or braided fibers for flying/tethering line. Woven cloth and later paper, were commonly used for sail material.
European Kites The Greek already knew kites around the 4 th century BC During Marco Polo's China travels of 1282, he reported seeing manned kites. Chinese shipping merchants would tie someone (usually a drunkard) to a huge frame (kite) held by eight strings and how, having launched the kite with the drunk in the wind, they would determine whether the voyage would be a prosperous voyage or not. He also explained how the men would pull on the rope attached to the eight strings to lift the kite higher. If he flew straight up, it was a good omen for the voyage; if he failed to rise, no merchant would load his wares onto that ship
George Pocock London by W. Wilson eds. in 1827
George Pocock Title-page A Boat Race: plate opposite p. 21
George Pocock Patent Kite and Charvolant: plate opposite p.26 Charvolants travelling in various directions with the same wind: plate opposite p. 27
William A. Eddy Wm. A. Eddy uses 5 kites in train to make automatic air temp readings at Blue Hill Mass. Eddy's kite train of 'tailless Malay Kites' lift a self-recording Hicks U Thermometer at the famous Blue Hill Observatory near Boston. Eddy's kites are 'bowed' on the cross spar to provide stability in flight. No tails are necessary. William Abner Eddy (1850 -1909)
William A. Eddy On May 9, 1891, by now convinced of the superiority of the expanded, independent train method, Eddy sought to achieve elevation to some serious height with his kite train. Using a method of triangulation that is an accurate way to measure kite altitude, he successfully documented the raising of a train of five hexagonal kites with tails to an estimated 4000-6000 feet. [Hart -120]. The Blue Hill Observatory , 1894
William A. Eddy Dec. 5, 1896 -working with Dr. William H. Mitchell and Henry L. Allen, Eddy used three of his kites to an altitude of one thousand feet to test the capability of using kites as a method of permitting telephone conversations to span distances where telephone wires were not currently strung. A thin electric wire was carried on a reel and attached to a "plummet lantern" which served as a weight to drop the line to the distant Dr. Mitchell who then carried on telephone conversations with Allen and Eddy back at the base of the tethered kite. Eddy wrote: "The voice of Dr. Mitchell came to me over the wire and was heard in the telephone with great clearness; and conversation was continued until nearly midnight, when the kites and wire were all drawn in." Eddy went on to detail that: "No battery was used in telephoning, the weak currents from magnets in each telephone operating the line with the probable assistance of earth and atmospheric currents, as shown by the clearness with which sounds were heard." Again, Eddy speculated on the military applications of such a communications system to aid a besieged fortress to communicate with the outside world. [Eddy - Century Magazine - May, 1897]
Lindenberg Observatory On August 1, 1919 a kite train of eight "Schirmkastendrachen" reached the altitude of 9740 m with modified Hargrave Boxkites. The first kite had a surface of 10 m², the second 5 m² and the remaining six kites had each a surface of 8 m². The flying line, made of heavy piano wire, was nearly 15 km long.
Marconi kite aerial used at Signal Hill for reception of the first Transatlantic wireless signal, 12th December 1901.
Man Lifting Kites Baden Powell, 1899 Man-lifter War Kite designed by Samuel Franklin Cody (1901). Wright brothers 1901 Alexander Graham bell 1898
Baden Powell George Kemp, formally Marconi's Chief Assistant, with a Baden-Powell kite (Photo: By courtesy of GEC-Marconi) Captain B. F. S. Baden-Powell, who on one occasion rose to a height of 100 feet.