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964863.  Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:24 am Reply with quote

I thought there was already a thread about kites (not the avian type) but can't see it so thought I'd start one. There are so many aspects to kites that it isn't easy to know where to start. Wikipedia has a chunk on the various cultural and historical aspects to kites.

Kites were also experimented with in WWII

Commander J.S.Dove, RN, OBE
started by designing a kite with aluminium foil woven into the cloth that could be picked up by radar to be flown by pilots who had bailed out over the sea. After the war my mother had some lampshades made from this material. He was ordered to Dunkirk with a small naval party to fly these in an attempt to deter the “Stuka” dive-bombers from strafing the soldiers on the beach.

Anyone got any QI kite facts?

964949.  Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:45 pm Reply with quote

In the Navy... as the song goes.
Paul Garber developed a kite specifically for use as moving targets to speed up the training of aircraft gunners

The project was approved. Under Garber’s supervision over 350,000 target kites were made and distributed to sharpen the eye of anti-aircraft gunners. The target kites with Japanese Zeros or German FW 190 aircraft painted on them were delivered to all domestic and overseas bases, as well as all ships at sea.
Garber spent the remainder of the war working on the target kite assignment. Lt. Garber went to every gunnery station on the East Coast to demonstrate the kites. Garber set up kite flying schools for Navy personnel to learn how to fly the target kite.


Incidentally, Paul Garber played an important role in establishing the present National Air and Space Museum building opened in 1976. As first curator and devotee, he helped to assemble the most impressive collection of historic aircraft in the world.

Prof Wind Up Merchant
965361.  Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:36 pm Reply with quote

In India they hold a kite festival and people get proper competitive. If playing against someone the aim is to cut the cord of the kite of the opposing player.

965415.  Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:42 pm Reply with quote

I read somewhere once (great source that...) that in order to help cut cords of the other kites they dip the string of their own type in glue and then in glass fragments.

966605.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:42 am Reply with quote

I just discovered that the engineer Richard Steiff not only 'invented' the *Teddy Bear, but also the Roloplan kite; a stable bi-planar kite used for aerial photography.
Genuine Roloplans are stamped with a picture of a Steiff bear with metal ear clip.

*long story, Google it.

966634.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:14 am Reply with quote

Very cool! He also built the first factory that had natural light for all the workers and the same factory was very likely the first wheelchair accessible one, too, because his auntie and boss, Margarethe Steiff, wouldn't have been able to supervise production otherwise. Her life story is Hollywoodworthy, btw.



966640.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:33 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
I read somewhere once (great source that...) that in order to help cut cords of the other kites they dip the string of their own type in glue and then in glass fragments.

There is a description of this in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner,
although that is about Afghanistan rather than India.

966720.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:57 pm Reply with quote

I've seen that described in a book about Korea too.

966812.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:49 pm Reply with quote

I believe glass-stringed kites were already covered on QI (the question was something like "what is the most dangerous game?" or something to that effect) although I can't remember the episode title.


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