www.best-breezes.squarespace.com - Kite History Timeline - 1900 to Present

Event NameStart DateEnd DateCategoryNotes

Wm. A. Eddy is issued U.S. Patent #646375 for his design of the tailless diamond kite.1900The most famous kite shape in modern history [the Edddy diamond kite] is patented to William Abner Eddy on March 27, 1990. Eddy goes on to license manufacture of his Eddy kites as 'war kites" for aerial photography and signalling. Only two original trademarked Eddy kites are known to be in existence today (Smithsonian Institution in Washington and Science & Technology Museum, Ottawa). Shortly after the US patent is issued, Eddy receives a British patent as well.

Alexander Graham Bell invents the tetrahedral kite.1901The tetrahedral kite protoype is developed in Washington DC in the winter of 1901, for testing at Baddeck in Spring of 1902. The kite's four rigid triangular sides made it lightweight and strong. Bell received a patent for the tetrahedral kite design in 1904.

December 12th: Guglielmo Marconi raises an aerial attached to kite to capture first Trans-Atlantic wireless signal.1901Signal Hill, St. Johns, Newfoundland was the site of this famous event in the development of wireless communication.

Wright Brothers use kite model of their glider to test flight characteristics.1902

Samuel Franklin Cody crosses English Channel from Calais France to Dover England towed by a kite.1903Using a train of his patented Cody Kites and a collapsible14 foot canoe, S.F. Cody made the voyage in just under four hours.

Samuel Pierpont Langley tests his Aerogrome on the Potomac River.1903Oct. 7th: This failed test was witnessed by Alexander Graham Bell. Langley's pursuit of powered flight inspired A.G. Bell to later form the Aerial Experiment Association in 1907.

Alexander Graham Bell flies the Frost King, a 1300-celled tetrahedral kite at Baddeck, NS.1904December 1904 - the largest tetrahedral kite to this date is flewn at Baddeck Nova Scotia. the kite has 1300 cells with a total area of 752 square feet of silk which made a supporting surface of 400 square feet. The kite was powerful enough to lift one of the men holding onto the guy lines. The kite wieghed 61 pounds and with the weight of the ropes and the passenger lifted aloft the total weight was calculated at 288 pounds.

Alexander Graham Bell receives patent for tetrahedral kite.1904

Kite carries airborne camera to get photos of San Franciisco earthquake.1906Famous aerial photos of the earthquake's effects on San Francisco are taken by George Lawrence just six weeks after the near total devastation of the city.

S. F. Cody was appointed to post of Chief Kite Instructor at Farnsborough, England.1906

Alexander G. Bell and four associates form the Aerial Experiment Association to develop a manned aircraft.1907Using $20,000 provided by Mabel Bell, the Aerial Experiment Association was formed by A.G. Bell along with Glenn Curtiss, Casey Baldwin, and J.A.D. McCurdy on Sept. 30th . Mrs. Bell was Secretary-Treasurer. Four 'aerodromes' (airplanes) were produced. All flew successfully and the last one, the Silver Dart, became the first plane to fly in Canada and the British Commonwealth.

Bell's giant tetrahedral kite, the Cygnet, carries a man aloft on Bras d'Or Lake in Nova Scotia.1907The kite, made up of 3393 cells had a wing span of 42 feet and height of 11 feet. It was towed behind a steamer on Bras d'or Lake. It flew unmanned on December 3rd to a height of 51 metres and stayed aloft for about seven minutes. On December 6th the Cygnet flew again with Lt. Thomas Selfridge (USA) as a passenger. It was the first recorded flight in Canada of a heavier-than-air machine. The flight reached a height of 168 feet, lasted for 7 minutes and ended in a watery crash on Bras d;Or Lake, Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The kite was rescued after some effort and Selfridge emerged cold and wet.

The elegant 'Roloplan' kite is marketed by German toy company "Steiff".1908Featuring double wings off of a main centre spar, the kite generates a great deal of lift and flies at a high angle. English adaptations of the kite become known as "the Roller". The Steiff Company is world famous for 'Steiff Bears'.

Flight attempts for Cygnet II, Alexander Graham Bell's tetrahedral kites as an aeroplane.1909The Cygnet II kite was a smaller version of the Cygnet I. It had a wheeled under carriage and was powered by a Curtiss V-8 engine. Attempts to lift a pilot in the kite on Feb. 22-24 met with failure.

Bell's Cygnet III tetrahedral kite-aeroplane finally flies briefly at Baddeck, N.S.1912The Cygnet III, rebuilt from the Cygnet II tetrahedral kite-aeroplane, fitted with with a more powerful engine, finally flew briefly on March 1 1912 at Lake Bras d'Or, Nova Scotia, piloted by John McCurdy.

French, German and British armies use kites to carry observers above battlefield.1914

Ed Sprague Jr. of Oak Park Illinois develops two line flight system for kites.1918

A German crew flew a kite train to an altitude of 31,955 feet.1919On August 1, 1919 a kite train of eight "Schirmkastendrachen" reached the altitude of 9740 m. The first kite had a surface of 10 mē, the second 5 mē and the remaining six kites had each a surface of 8 mē. The flying line, made of heavy piano wire, was long nearly 15 km. The "Schirmdrachen", english umbrella-kite, was a modified Hargrave box kite, but containing a totally different spar construction. The inner spars could be opened and closed like an umbrella to tighten the kite. See: http://www.kites.org/tmr/Lindenberg_eng.htm

Royal Aircraft Establishment (England) works to develop barrage kite.1938

U.S. Air Force and Navy equips pilots with "Gibson Girl" rescue signal kites.1939These box kites were made with an aluminum frame that popped open when a downed flyer was trying to signal for rescue from his life raft. The kite was flown off of a metal aerial wire which was attached to a hand dynamo and Morse code radiotransmitter unit. These kits were also used by the Australian and British Air Forces. A Russian version was also developed using the original US kit as a concept. These rescue kits were used right up through the Korean War in the 1950's.

Paul Garber develops Garber Target Kite19411942This maneuverable kite was used to train naval gunners in the art of aiming at incoming enemy aircraft. One of most famous kites of all time, the Garber target kites were steered by a flier wearing a harness and maneuvering the kite's tow control lines and steerable rudder to make it track through the air. Gunners worked to shoot the kite out of the sky in battle practice sessions that simulated an attack by incoming fighter planes.

Gibson Girl rescue box kite system is developed for use by Allied pilots during WWII.1943The rescue kit consists of a box kite, metal flying line which acted as an aerial, a hand crank generator for the radio and a Morse code sending device. Later a voice radio transmission system was added on some models.

Francis Rogallo patents the Flexible kite.19481951This kite is related to Rogallo's parawing. Rogallo uses wind tunnels to test his kite and wing designs. Work began on the kite design in 1943. Dr. Rogallo, who was employed by NASA, was assisted by his wife Gertrude.

William Allison patents the Sled kite.1950This unique kite is a staple with kiters. Often used to introduce children to kite making and kite flying due to its good flight characteristics. The sled is a much under rated kite.

Frank Scott adds slots to Sled kite sail adding greater stability.1952Two slots in the lower part of the sled sail helped to provide additional directional stability to the sled kite.

Domina Jalbert introduces the Parafoil design.1964Jalbert, a Canadian from Quebec, moved to the U.S. to work in the aerospace industry. The parafoil is innovative and does not require any stiff spars. The kite cells fill with air creating a sturdy airfoil shape. Patent # 3,285,546. Patented Nov. 15, 1966 - Filed Oct. 1, 1964. Ser. No. 400,734 Parafoils were produced in several sizes.

Robert M. Ingraham establishes the AKA American Kitefliers Association.1964Ingraham, a New Mexico native formed the AKA which is presently the world's largest kite association with members in virtually every nation of the world. The AKA published a quarterly journal entitled "Kiting" during Ingraham's tenure as president.

Peter Powell popularizes dual line sport kites in Cheltenham, England.1972Introduced as a toy dual line stunter and the public began to fly kites not only for fun, but also for sport.

Ray Merry and Andrew Jones of the UK begin to develop the Flexifoil kite.19721974The earliest prototypes were developed in 1972 but the version that is familiar to the world as the "Flexifoil" emerged in 1974. The steerable Flexifoils are used for kite traction and inspire many young kiters to enter the kite hobby area. Flexifoil Patent, United States Patent #4,129,272.

Peter Lynn develops triangular, framed box kite.1974This innovative kite formby New Zealand kite expert Peter Lynn was the beginning of highly original kites from one of the world's finest kite designers and innovators.

Flexifoil by Ray Merry and Andrew Jones makes first public flight.1976The Felxifoil is available for marketing and sale at kite stores shortly after this and is reviewed in Kitelines Magazine in Winter 1979-80.

12 Flexifoils used to power catamaran "Jacob's Ladder".1978The use of the Flexifoils powered the catamaran "Jacob's Ladder" to a 'C' Class sailing speed record. This was one of the first modern applications of kite powered sailing.

Bernard Stewart of BC, Canada established a water traction record by crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca.1979July 5, 1979 - Stewart used a train of eight Flexifoil kites to pull a 12 foot inflatable Zodiac boat from Crescent Bay WA, USA to the inner harbour of Victoria BC, Canada. The crossing took five and a half hours and covered 23+ miles. The straight line distance between points is about 20 miles but there was significant tacking involved in making the voyage.

Facet kite by Stephen Robinson written up in Kitelines Journal1979Kitelines: Winter 1979 - first documented date for the Facet kite which is a very attractive and complex compound kite. It usually takes quite a bit of wind to fly and fliesat a low angle of attack.

Don Tabor unveils the "Hawaiian" dual line sport kite.1982Dual line kiting emerges as a major force in rejuvenating kite flying as a prominent activity. The Hawaiian Kite is one of the leading kites in the development of precision team flying.

Kite traction power introduced to sailboat racing.1982"Jacob's Ladder" wins world Speed Sailing record in C class with 25.03 kt using kite traction assistance.

Peter Powell introduces 2nd Generation steerable sport kites.1982A refinement on his original kites, these became quite popular and were sold to an increasing number of kiters interested in low cost dual line sport kites.

Peter Lynn of New Zealand develops large inflatable theme kites.1985Known throughout the world, Peter Lynn has reshaped the modern kite in many forms. His large inflatables were dramatic and altered the skyscape at festivals from their introduction in the mid-1980's. http://www.peterlynnkites.co.nz/

Peter Lynn begins development of kite boats.1987

Joseph Hadzicki patents a "kite-like" flying device with dual handles and four point control.1988Originally produced as the "Neos Omega" this kite, using four lines and uniquely shaped handles for each pair of lines, becomes known as the Revolution Quad-line kite.

Martin Lester, England, design and flies famous inflatable legs kite.1988This kite, along with Lester's earlier shark kite (1983) begin an era of creative kite forms without spars, using the 'ram air' concept to create rigidity in the kite.

Hadzicki family of California begin production of the quad line Revolution kites.1989The 'Revolution' becomes the most successful quad line kite ever produced. Now available in several versions. See: http://www.revkites.com/main.htm

Reinhold Messner, used kites to pull his sled, covered up to 100 kilometres a day on his journey across Antarctica.1989

Peter Lynn develops first practical kite buggy.1990Peter Lynn's three wheeled, kite drawn kite buggy launches a whole new kite traction sport. Buggy races and cross-country events spring up around the world. Developed at the same time were Peter Lynn's C Quad single skin semi rigid traction kite.

Kite surfing begins development.1992Peter Lynn and Naish are the premier leaders in the field.

Mega-byte by Peter Lynn is world's largest kite to this date.1995A breakthough in size and form, Megabyte and its sister kite Mega Ray (1997) were 635 square metres in size. The kites toured the world and were the stars of international kite festivals.

Nichole Van de Kerchove crosses Atlantic Ocean in boat powered by parafoils.1995Very few details are known about this historic kite powered crossing of the Atlantic.

Peter Lynn perfects Kite-Cat, a personal catamaran pulled by kites.1995

Richard Dutton establishes world record for 101 box kites flown in train.1995On November 14, 1995, as part of the World Cup of Kiting held in Lake Entrance, Victoria, Australia, Richard Dutton of Buffalo NY flew 101 box kites in train on a single line.

Circoflex kite invented by Oostveen and Schieffer.1996Very innovative circular kite amazes spectators in flight.

Peter Lynn develops Cquad hybrid power kite for kite traction on water.1997

Peter Lynn develops Waterfoil self inflating water launch foil.1999

Peter Lynn develops Arc bridleless foil.2000

Richard Synergy (Canada) achieves new Single Kite Altitude Record by flying to 13,609 feet above the flying field at Kincardine, ON - August 12th..2000The kite was a high tech delta, having 270 square feet of nylon kite skin, measuring 30 feet from wing tip to wing tip, and 18 feet tall, sporting hollow fiberglass spars 1.5 inches in diameter, flying on 270 pound woven Kvlar line 3/32 inch in diame

Magenn Power of Ottawa, Canada develops Magenn Rotating Kite Electrical generations system.2005http://www.best-breezes.squarespace.com/journal/2006/1/7/rotor-kites-move-from-toy-novelty-to-high-tech-power-generation.html -and- The Magenn Site at: http://www.magenn.com/index.php

Peter Lynn's "Kite-Cat" (single rider catamaran powered by kite) is produced.2005This innovative catamaran allows the rider to sit upright and maneuvre the kite to pull the boat in any direction using the wind as a power source.

World's Largest Kite produced for Kuwait is a Peter Lynn design.2005New world record kite: a "pillow-kite" flag of Kuwait is produced and flown. The kite measueres1050 mē (25 by 42 m). Collapsed weight: 200 kg. Volume: 4500 cubic m. The fabric is super-ripstop nylon. Construction time: 750 hours.

Anne Quemere of France crosses Atlantic in solo voayage powered by large parafoil kites.2006Quemere's feat marks another plateau for the use of kite traction in sea transportation.

Australians Patrick Spiers and Ben Deacon completed a 700 km trans-Greenland journey on Peter Lynn Kite Sleds.2006It is estimated that the journey was completed 20% faster than by kite skiing.

Drachen Foundation and Scott Haefner recreate the San Francisco aerial photographs of 1906 earthquake.2006Information about this special project can be found on the web site of The Drachen Foundation.

Magenn Air Rotor Kite prototype flown at Niagara Windriders' Canal Days Kite Festival.2006The prototype for the electrical generator kite is displayed and flown at the 14th Annual Canal Days Kite Festival on August 6, 2006.

Two addtional versions of World's Largest Kite are produced.2006Gomberg Kite Productions "US Flag" pillow kite and Maseki Modegii's Japanese art pillow kite are in the skies. Both are identical in size to Kuwait flag pillow kite.

A Canadian and British expedition reach Antarctica's Pole of Inaccessibility using kites to assist their progress on skiis.2007January 22, 2007: Team N2i led by Canadian Paul Landry and four British explorer Rupert Longsdon, Rory Sweet and Henry Cookson to the Pole of Inaccessibility that lies some 870 kilometers (540 miles) northeast of the South Pole. It was first reached by Soviet explorers on Dec. 14, 1958, and was used briefly as a meteorological research base. Team N2i was the first to reach this point without any mechanized support. Their journey supported by kites and skiis took 49 days one way. They were airlifted back to their base.

The Canadian Kite Federation and The Drachen Foundation mark centenary of flight of Bell's Cygnet kite.2007August 22, 2007, a celebration is held to mark the 100th anniversary of the man carrying flight of A.G. Bell's Cygnet kite on Bras d'Or Lake. The anniversary events are held at the Bell Museum and the Bell estate, Beinn Bhreagh, in Baddeck, N.S. The organization of the event is planned by Gary Mark of Blue Sky Kites (Oakville, ON, Canada).

Kite History Time Line Ver.2.1 - Copyright Bob White - www.best-breezes.squarespace.com June 2008.