Who is the Nantucket Kiteman?

Who is the Nantucket Kiteman? This is the question I was asking myself after photographing and cataloging a beautiful sewn cloth 8-pointed star stamped with this moniker. The answer: Al Hartig.

Image of front of star kite 2010-08-K-01744. (click image for larger version)

Image of the stamp on the back of the kite. (click image for larger version)

Hartig and his wife Betty moved from New York City to Nantucket Island, Massachusetts to open a kite business, complete with storefront, namely for the beloved cloth Delta kites patented by Al. They were known as "Valkyrie" and came to have a following among kiters, including a pair who reportedly spent $600 to fly cross county in 1975 just to buy his kites. Drachen Foundation has two Hartig Deltas in the collection, donated by bill lockhart.

Image of the Delta 2007-06-K-00323. (click image for larger version)

Image of the Delta 2007-06-K-00324. (click image for larger version)

Despite the popularity of his Deltas, there is little written on the Hartigs to be found online, and virtually nothing to be found about his other types of kites, like the lovely star in the DF Collection.

Reportedly after Al died in the early 1990s, Betty sold the business and inventory to a fellow kite company on Nantucket, who subsequently began to market sport kites.

Do any of our readers have any more information, or even stories about the Nantucket Kiteman and his kites? We would love to hear from you! Email us at info@drachen.org.