Excerpt from the book: EVERY BOY’S BOOK: A COMPLETE ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF SPORTS AND AMUSEMENTS
The flying of paper kites is a favourite pastime among the Chinese. On a certain day they hold a sort of kite festival, and then people of all ages hasten to the hills to fly their kites, the fantastic shapes and gaudy colours of which produce an extraordinary effect.
Philosophers have occasionally taken the kite out of the hands of the schoolboy, and have applied it to useful and curious purposes. By means of a kite formed of a silk handkerchief stretched over a wooden frame, Dr. Franklin drew down lightning from the clouds, and demonstrated its identity with electricity.
Many years ago Mr. Pocock, of Bristol, travelled on the road between Bath and London in a carriage drawn by two paper kites, supported at a moderate elevation, and impelled by the wind.
The paper kite has also been employed to convey a line over the capital of Pompey’s Pillar. We do not expect our readers to perform any electrical or locomotive experiments with their kites; but we are quite sure that they may derive great amusement from these little aërial machines, especially if they manufacture them with their own hands. We know of no pleasanter occupation for a summer’s day than watching the graceful flight of a well-made kite.
HOW TO MAKE A KITE
For the upright get a good straight lath, as A B, in the annexed figure, and next procure half of a thin hoop or cane for the bow C D, and then tie the hoop to the upright at A, and take care to have as much on one side of the upright as on the other; otherwise your kite will be sure to fall on one side when flying.
Notch the two ends of the bow C D, and tie a long piece of string to D; pass it round the upright at E, and then fasten it at C; next carry the string to A, pass it down to D, and tie it there: from thence it is to be continued to B, passed round a notch there, and carried up again to C, then down the upright at F, and up to D, where it is to be finally fastened off.
The skeleton being thus finished, the next thing to be done is to paste several sheets of paper so as to form a surface large enough to cover the kite and allow of a little turn over to fasten the outer edges; after you have pasted the paper on to the skeleton, you must make two holes, in the upright, as at G, G, through which the belly-band is to be passed, knotting the two ends of the string to keep it from slipping through the holes.
The wings are to be made of several sheets of paper, cut into slips, rolled close up, so as to bear some resemblance to a tassel, and tied to the sides of the kite at C, D. The tail, which should be about fifteen times the length of the kite, is made by folding a number of pieces of paper so as to be about an inch in breadth, and four inches in length, and afterwards tying them on a string at intervals of three inches, and is finished by affixing to the end of the string a large tassel made in the same manner as the wings.
Tie the string with which you intend to fly the kite to the belly-band, and your kite is complete and ready for service.
FLYING THE KITE – How to Fly a kite
We need not enter very minutely into the rules to be observed in flying a kite, as every boy is acquainted with them. Unless there be a nice breeze stirring, the kite-flyer need not expect to have much sport, as nothing can be more vexatious than attempting to fly a kite when there is not sufficient wind for the purpose.
To raise the kite in the first instance, the flyer will require the aid of another boy. The owner of the kite having unwound a considerable length of string, now turns his face towards the wind and prepares for a run, while his assistant holds the kite by its lower extremity as high as he can from the ground.
At a given signal the assistant lets the kite go, and if all circumstances be favourable it will soar upwards with great rapidity. With a well-constructed kite, in a good breeze the flyer need not trouble himself to run very fast nor very far, as his kite will soon find its balance, and float quite steadily on the wind. The kite-flyer should be careful not to let out string too fast.
When a kite pitches, it is a sign that it is built lop-side, or that its tail is not long enough.
Some boys amuse themselves by sending messengers up to their kites when they have let out all their string. A messenger is formed of a piece of paper three or four inches square, in the centre of which a hole is made. The end of the string is passed through the hole, and the wind quickly drives the messenger up to the kite. The kite-flyer should be careful not to send up too many messengers, lest they weigh down the kite.
Calico has many advantages over paper as a covering for kites; it is not so liable to be torn, is not damaged by wet, and may be sewn on the framework much more neatly than paper can be pasted. Being much heavier than paper, it is, however, only suited for large kites. A portable calico kite may now be procured at most of the toy-shops. The framework of this kite is formed of two slender pieces of wood, which turn on a common centre in such a manner that they can either be shut up, so that one piece lies flat upon the other, or opened out into the form of a cross. The calico covering is attached to this cross by means of tapes. This portable kite can be rolled up and carried to the field without inconvenience.
Kites shaped like a balloon and a mole
Kites shaped like a hairy gentleman and a soldier
Ingenious boys now and then take a hint from the Chinese, and so shape and paint their kites that they resemble different animate and inanimate objects.
The “officer kite,” which has the figure of a soldier painted on it, and the “hawk kite,” which rudely represents a flying hawk, are common forms of fancy kites. A very funny effect may be produced by painting a kite like a sailor, and attaching moveable arms, instead of the ordinary tassel wings, to the shoulders.
We present our readers with a few suggestive forms, which are quite novel. All fancy kites should be painted with the most glaring colours, and the figures on them drawn as coarsely as possible, as they are intended to be seen at a great distance.
Carried away by the kite
Excerpt from the book:
EVERY BOY’S BOOK: A COMPLETE ENCYCLOPÆDIA OF SPORTS AND AMUSEMENTS.
EDITED BY EDMUND ROUTLEDGE. With more than Six Hundred Illustrations FROM ORIGINAL DESIGNS. LONDON: GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE. NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET. 1869.