Articles

  • Patents are a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" for kite designers. They take huge amounts of time (which I'd rather spend kitemaking), they are horrendously expensive, like more than US$ 50,000 for just a few core countries (plus at least the same again in a defense fund to establish credibility), and, even after considerable investment, won't necessarily be granted or be defensible because of legal vagaries.
  • Nearly 250 years after Benjamin Franklin flew a kite to sample the electric fields in a Pennsylvania thunderstorm, meteorological kites are again flying high as platforms for scientific research.
  • One of the prizes of my kite collection is an original Steiff Roloplan that came to me because of the great people at the Into the Wind kite store in Boulder, Colorado. They were called a few years ago by a man in Nebraska, who asked if they'd be interested in buying two old box kites, rescued from his attic. Whatever they thought of the offer, they politely referred the man to me.
  • Joseph Louis LeCornu was born in Caen, Normandy, on March 13, 1864, the seventh of eight children. His father was a lacemaker by trade. Following the father's death in 1878 when LeCornu was 14, he and his seven siblings were raised by their mother. An early achiever, LeCornu received a prize in philosophy from his lycee in Caen at age 9 and four years later was included in a delegation from his school sent to Paris to attend the burial of writer Victor Hugo. The following year he was admitted to L'Ecole Centrales des Arts and Manufactures.
  • Between the years 1882 and 1994, a total of 100 patents were issued by the German Patent Office for kites and kite accessories. This averages about one patent per year, approximately the same number of patents issued by the British Patent Office for English patents over a period of years. In contrast, the U.S. Patent Office issued an average of six to seven patents per year from 1886 to 1998, indicating a much greater interest in kiting in America than in those two European countries.
  • Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters are back in vogue and the Amateur Yacht Research Society enters into the spirit of the 19th century by this appreciation of a book published in 1827, The Aeropleustic Art, by a Bristol schoolmaster who built, patented and drove a kite buggy at 20 miles per hour almost two centuries ago. The volume is virtually unobtainable, as is a second edition published in 1851 retitled A Treatise of the Aeropleustic Art or Buoyant Sails, With a Description of the Charvolent or Kite Carriage.
  • If you love kites and are skilled at photography, how do you put the two together to make a vocation? Nicolas Chorier, 37, of Montpellier, France, faced this question a few years ago. His answer was: aerial kite photography.
  • After the plane he was flying came apart in midair and he fell 500 feet to his death on Aug.7, 1913, Samuel Franklin Cody was accorded a hero's funeral at Aldershot, England. A procession viewed by fifty thousand people delivered his body to the military cemetery there and Cody was interred with Great Britain's heroes, the first civilian and the only American cowboy ever to be accorded such an honor.
  • Because of Indonesia's current problems, the decision to hold the festival in the beautiful town of Sanur, Bali could not be made until two weeks before the starting date. At such short notice, less than a dozen international participants were able to join in the mid-year event. Guests came from Brunei, Singapore, Japan, France, Austria, Holland, and the U.S. Bali itself was more than well represented.
  • Fano 1999 had the best weather in the 15 year history of the kitefliers' meeting. Only one day was washed out by the showers, so typical on this small Danish island, and what a pleasant coincidence that it was the same afternoon that the scheduled Alexander Graham Bell Symposium was to be held. Over 65 enthusiasts sought shelter and information in Fano's elementary school, and, as showers pelted the island, were treated to lectures by Ralf Schroder and Achim Kinter. (For a sample of Ralf Schroder's design work, see "Drachen Sport und Design" May 1999.)