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3 3333 05968 5236 

15 Miller 







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Printed in the United States of America 


The North Wind is my prancing steed, 
The Bridle is my kite; 

I'll harness him, I'll drive him, 

'Till my kite's most out of sight. 

/ saw you toss the kites on high, 
And blow the birds about the sky, 
And all about I heard you pass, 
Like ladies' skirts across the grass. 



Perhaps the one word that best expresses the trend of education 
at the present time is the word life-likeness. The trend is toward 
more and more life-likeness in organization and methods. The effort 
toward diversification which has resulted in putting manual training 
into courses of study, in multiplying courses in high schools, in pro- 
viding ungraded and other special rooms in elementary schools, in 
breaking grades up into groups for teaching and promotions, in keeping 
playgrounds and shops open afternoons and Saturdays, in opening the 
school buildings evenings for social centers or socialized evening schools, 
which has resulted in all these changes and others that might be 
mentioned, is simply an effort to make the schools like life. The 
theory behind this is that if a school is like life, children will like 
school for the same reason that they like life, and the theory is sound. 
Before these changes were introduced, our public schools were a com- 
posite structure, made up nearly altogether of two elements, neither of 
which was in any degree life-like. These two elements were the 
medieval monastery, for order, and the 19th century factory, for process. 

Kite-making in connection with schools is in line with this trend 
toward life-likeness. As the ideas and plans contained in this book 
have been worked out and carried into execution in the schools of 
Los Angeles by the author, they have demonstrated a wonderful social- 
izing power. By recognizing kite-season in the schools and carrying 
the discussion of it into the shop and classrooms, ending with a great 
kite-tournament each year, not only have very many boys been reached 
who would not have responded to other influences, but the whole com- 
munity has been stirred to sympathetic interest in the schools. This is 
the kind of influence which causes children to feel that school is life, 
and therefore makes tremendously for wholesome education. If the 
ideas and plans of the author can be carried out elsewhere as they have 
been in Los Angeles for several years, they must prove a help to the 
cause of education. 

Assistant Superintendent of Schools. 


When we started kite work in the Los Angeles City Schools, we 
little thought that so great an opportunity for awakening latent power 
in a certain class of boys was being initiated, nor did we dream of any 
such kite tournaments as have been developed during the past six years. 
Starting with half a dozen plans, sent out on mimeographed sheets to 
the various schools from time to time during the spring of 1907, the 
number of kinds and designs have increased to a hundred or more. 
Other cities desiring information regarding the work, a reprint was 
published and has been in such demand that it was thought advisable 
to write a more comprehensive text on the subject. Many of the former 
designs have been included, but none but what should be put in more 
permanent form, and most of these have been redrawn for the new 
work. The plans are not complete in every detail, something being left 
for the boy to work out, but there is enough in the suggestions so that 
by reasonable planning, most of the forms can be made by the average 
boy and still something will be left for the expert. 

The greatest number of kites will be made by fifth and sixth year 
boys, but the spirit holds over into seventh and eighth for the larger 
and more complex forms, and even into the high school with model 
aeroplanes, etc. 

It is the hope of the writer that this little book may be instrumental 
in giving our boys and girls suggestions for many happy hours in the 
construction and flying of kites, and that it may also serve a good 
purpose to teacher and pupil in reaching a common ground, and that 
it will help some mother in furnishing a good healthy pastime sport 
for boys who sometimes try the limit of one's patience for the lack of 
something to do. It is a home construction work largely, and it has 
succeeded oftimes much better than was anticipated, for whole families 
have become interested in the development of OUR boy's kite. Mother 
generally is interested first, while father looks with disfavor on so much 
time being spent on a kite; but before it flies, father gets 
thusiastic, suggests here and there, and furnishes material for string, 

ptc., with pleasure, and they all go to the tournament to see Jack win 
a first prize. This is one case, there are others. 

I believe there is need for such books, and this subject is without 
such a text, therefore, this little treatise. 

November 5, 1912. Los Angeles, California. 





Introduction 5 

Preface 7 

I. General Kite Construction 11 

II. Kite Accessories 16 

III. Kinds of Kites 20 

IV. Plain Surface Kites 23 

V. Box-Kites 39 

VI. Combined Kites 48 

VII. Decoration of Kites 61 

VIII. Messengers 69 

IX. Moving Devices 75 

X. Suspended Figures and Appliances 82 

XI. Balloons and Parachutes 92 

XII. Reels 97 

XIII. Aeroplane Models 103 

XIV. Gliders 108 

XV. Model Aeroplanes 112 

XVI. Propellers, Motors, Gears, and Winding Devices 121 

XVII. Tournaments 127 

XVIII. Tournaments, Continued 134 

XIX. Conclusion 140 

XX. Bibliography 142 


The kite is usually made of ri framework of wood, is lashed together 
with cord, strung with cord according to design, and finally is covered 
with paper; but in each case some other material might be substituted. 

The drawings in this book have the framework represented by full 
lines and the string by slant dotted lines. The framework must be 
kept light and strong. It is usually made of wood, the pieces varying 
in number from two in the plain tailless, to sixteen in a good box-kite, 
and to a great many in a large tetrahedral kite. 

The soft tough woods are better than the hard, heavy woods. 
Spruce is considered the most satisfactory, but yellow pine, basswood, 
and even white cedar will do. For a three foot kite, the California 
redwood shake is very satisfactory. It is a kind of long shingle of 
uniform thickness thruout, is six inches wide and three feet long. The 
shake is split into strips about T y or |" wide, and bends sufficiently 
for the bow. Some box factories will rip out spruce sticks in 25c. 
bundles for boys at about one penny each. Some good sizes are 
T V'x"x3', i"xi"x4' and f'xf'xS'. These should be straight grained 
and well seasoned. 

Sticks should be uniform in weight and bending qualities. Where 
sticks are to be centered, careful measurements must be made, then by 
balancing over a knife-blade the difference in weight can be detected 
and the heavy end reduced by whittling off some. Some try to find 
center by balancing, but this is very inaccurate ; a string may be used 
for measuring. 

Aluminum tubing is used, 
especially for parts of model aero- 
planes, but it is not available in 
many places. Some make frames 
of paper, but they are more for 
curiosity than utility. For large 

frames bamboo is excellent, but requires a different fastening of joints 
than sawn out material, Fig. 1. Split bamboo is excellent for curved out- 
lines and for light framework of butterflies and bird kites, and for Jap- 




anesc, Korean and Chinese kites. Wire can be used for frames of small 

Lashing. When t\vo sticks arc to be fastened together, instead 
of nailing with a small brad, they should be lashed. First wind diag- 
onally around both sticks in both directions, Fig. 2; then wind between 

FIG. 2. FIG. 3. 

sticks around the other windings. This draws all the cord up tight, 
Fig. 3. Coat over with giue or shellac. 

Large box-kite frames with 
sawn out material should have the 
upright posts let into the long 
horizontal pieces a little, Fig. 4 . If 

a brace is notched at the end to fit 

over another piece, Fig. 5, and is 
liable to split out, it can be wound 
just back of the notch with thread, 
Fig. 6, and coated with shellac. All windings should be neatly done 
without criss-cross windings as in Fig. 7. Which do you like best 
Fig. 6 or Fig. 7? 

FIG. 4. 

FIG. 5. FIG. 6. FIG. 7. 

Collapsible Frames. Folding frames can be made for most kites. 
Large tailless kites have either a removable spine or bow, the square 
box-kite has braces that spring into shallow notches, and the triangular 
box and house kite combination can be rolled by having a removable 
cross-stick. It is a great advantage to have folding kites. 



Stringing. Symmetry is so necessary in the making of a good 
kite, that the stringing becomes an important factor; for if two opposite 
sides are made unequal, there will he more pressure on one side of 
center than the other, the kite will be pulling off to one side or darting 
down and perhaps will refuse to fly at all. A small hard twisted cotton 
cord is good for stringing as it does not stretch. 

r c 

FIG. 8. 

FIGS. 9, 10. 

On kites where the string passes around the entire frame, Fig. 8, it 
is best to fasten at the end of one stick only, as at a, then pass in the 
notches of the ends of the other sticks at b, 

c, d, and tie again at a. We must assume ^*~~~ 

that the horizontal stick in Fig. 8 has been 
measured accurately for center as that is a 
part of the framing process. The sticks can 
be notched with a knife, Fig. 9, or a saw- 
cut can be made in the end, Fig. 10. The 
latter is less liable to split out, but the first 
is more convenient, for every boy is likely 
to have a knife or can borrow one. 

After the string is secured around the 
entire figure, adjustment between points is 

made. If a tailless kite is being strung up, the two upper portions are 
shifted until the right and left sides are equal. The ends 


FIG. 11. 





wound with another cord, Fig. 11, to prevent slipping. The two lower 
sides are then spaced and the lower end ol the ^pinc is secured in the 
same way. Some may think it a waste of time to measure the lower 
strings after the upper ones have been adjusted, but very often there is 
quite a little difference, due to a springing of the spine. A six pointed 
star kite would have six, instead of four spaces to even up. Some string- 
ing is used for inside designs, and some is used for strengthening frame. 
Covering. Probably more tissue paper is used in covering kites 
than any other material. There are a number of kinds of tissue papers, 
but the cheapest, because it is the cheapest, is used most. These cheap 
tissue papers are now found in all shades and tints of colors. 

The French tissues arc more durable, and as a rule, more brilliant 
in color. A kite covered with this paper can be used from time to time 
without being disabled. 

The Chinese tissue paper is the strongest of all tissues in one di- 
rection, and should be used so as to bring the length way of the paper 
in the direction of greatest strain. This paper only comes in a cream 
color, but is very satisfactory where strength and hand color work are 
desired. In Los Angeles we get two sheets for five cents, and the size 
is 22"x23". There are some wrapping papers that are pliable and 
strong enough to be used, especially on box-kites, but only a few of these 

are of much service on plain sur- 
face kites. The tight covering on 
a box kite is an advantage. Some 
boys use a paper that is commonly 
known as a butter paper, and 
others find orange wrapping paper 

Of the cloth coverings, cambric 
is the most popular. The sizing 

is sufficient to keep the covering in shape during construction, it is light 
in weight, comes in variety of good colors and is cheap. When cloth is 
used on plain surface kites, care must be observed that the goods are 
not used on the bias, as the unequal stretching would unbalance the poise 
of the kite. Silk is excellent, but ! ! it isn't used much by boys. 

FIG. 12. 


Most coverings arc turned over the outer strings, and arc pasted 
or sewn down. In representative figure kites, the edge of the paper is 
sometimes left free, \\hilc the string is made fast by extra strips of 
paper pasted fast over the string and to the back of the cover, Fig. 12, 
thus leaving the edges to flutter in the breeze. Some large kites can 
be covered with paper, if a network of string is used at the back to give 
support to the covering. 

Tailless, and some other kites require loose coverings, this looseness 
should be planned for in a systematic manner. If the cover of a 3-foot 
kite is placed on a table or the floor with the frame laid on top, the 
edge of the cover may be cut one inch or one and one-half inches to the 
outside of the string. Instead of turning in this whole amount, only 
turn in one-half inch of the outer edge. This leaves plenty of looseness 
for bagging of cover, and is regular. 


The Bridle. The kite is not supposed to be finished until the 
bridle (or belly band) is attached. Nearly all kites require a bridle, 
a very few have the kite line tied directly to some one point of the 
framework. The bridle is a very important part of the kite equip- 
ment, as the kite is dependent on it for the proper distribution of 
pull by the kite line, it also gives the inclination of the exposed surface 
to the breeze. The inclination is varied slightly for various purposes, 
such as high flying, strong pulling, steady flying, etc. To make the 
kite fly directly over head, the kite line is attached above the normal 



FIG. 13. 


FIG. 15. 

FIG. 14. 

point, and to make it fly low, the attachment should be below normal. 
If the single line can be attached to the framework so as to give this 
inclination, no bridle is needed but it is usually difficult' to locate the 
right point. 

Many kites need attachment of bridle in but two places, while 
others require three, some four, and some are benefited by the use of 


many strings to the bridle, but the last may be used for strengthening 
the framework of the kite more than for general poise. The Chinese 
say there should never be more than three strings to the bridle, while 
the Japanese use many. 

The tailless kite may have the bridle attached at the bottom and 
top of the spine (the vertical stick of the frame) or the bottom and at 
the crossing of bow and spine. In either case the bridle must be long 
enough so that when it is drawn over to the side of the kite, the loop 
will just reach the outer points of the bow, Fig. 13; ac should be the 
same length as ab, and cd the same length as bd. The normal point 
of attachment of kite line is at c, the point that just reaches b or e 
when drawn to the side. Some bird kites have a similar bridle but 
much shorter between attachments. More of the form kites have three 
and four strings to the bridle. The three string bridle is usually two 
strings above and a longer one below, Fig. 14. The four string bridle 
has two short uppers and two long lowers, Fig. 15. For the poly string 
bridle, see Fig. 16. Some have advocated an elastic bridle but the 
writer has never found it of any great advantage. 

FIG. 16. FIG. 17. 

A double bridle with a kite line to each, makes a dirigible kite 
possible, which may be useful in a number of ways and which can give 
much amusement in kite antics that is not possible with a single kite 
line. A double bridle is illustrated in Fig. 17. Such a kite can be 
driven at will. The kite becomes a sail and can be pulled to right and 
left, in circles and various contortions, out of the ordinary. 

Kite Lines. A three or four ply cotton wrapping string is used 
more than any other and is very satisfactory for three-foot kites and 
smaller. The hard twisted cotton seine twine comes from six to over 


a hundred ply, and is excellent for kite lines. It is strong and dues not 
burn the hands, nor kink as much as hemp twine. 

F<>r high flying or racing work, a light strong cord is necessary. A 
small kite can carry up a great amount of silk or linen thread but one 
should have a reel and gloves to handle it. Shoemakers thread and 
upholstering twine are also used. Some think that waxing a string 
makes it stronger, but by actual tests before and after waxing, there 
was no appreciable difference in the amount of endurance of strain before 
breaking. Waxing does preserve the string and prevents fraying and 

When kites are put up in tandem, the string need only be as strong 
for the first kite as is ordinarily used for one of its size, but as other 
kites are added the size of the cord must be increased. This grading 
of the string, greatly reduces the total weight and cost of the kite line. 

Reels. You can fish without a reel and you can fly 
a kite without one, but the reel is a great convenience 
and an absolute necessity at times for both. The reel 
in brief is a large spool with flanges on both ends, 
a central axle fixed to the spool, a frame for sup- 
porting the axle, a guide for the string to prevent 
its running off the reel, and a brake to prevent too 
rapid unwinding when letting out the string. A reel 
can be made without a crank, by having the axle 
supported at one end only, and a knob handle fastened 
to the outer face of the reel for winding purposes. 
For further directions, see chapter on Reels. 

Tails. A tail and other balancers are used to 
give poise to an otherwise unsteady kite. When a kite 
is constructed in such a way as to present a broad flat 
surface to the breeze, it will sway and dive and no 
FIG. 18. matter how carefully you attach your bridle it cannot 

be supported in the air. 

For kites that represent irregular forms, there must also be a special 
balancer. The tail is usually resorted to in such cases. The tail is more 
than a weight. A foxy kite refuses to come to terms by the addition of a 
thread and lead or other weight. The weight drops so quickly to its plumb 



line that the kite has not come to poise, and makes another pitch 
in some other direction. The value of the tail depends not so much 
on weight as on its pulling capacity while being drawn thru the 
air. The tail, usually consisting of a string with a \ 
number of pieces of paper folded and tied thereon, \ 

Fig. 18, and with cloth streamers at the end for V*. 

weight, exerts considerable pull for long enough 
time to give steadiness to the kite. A kite must 
have poise in the air just as we balance a board on 
the end of a finger if the finger is not centrally 
located, the board will fall to the left, or right, 
front or back ; so with the kite, if the pressure 
of the air is not centrally located it will glide 
to left or right, or pitch forward or tumble 
backwards. The tail helps most in remedying the 
two latter troubles. Almost any light surface can 
be supported in the air by proper attachment of 
bridle and tail. The Japanese use two or more tails 
on their square kites consisting usually of long cot- 
ton ropes with large tassels on the end. These look 
very beautiful trailing out in long graceful parallel 

Another form of air resistance found serviceable, 
is hollow cones or funnel shaped devices of light 
cardboard attached by cords to the kite in place of 
tails, Fig: 19. 

A Chinese boy had a colored paper ball about 
8" in diameter attached by a string to one of the 
kites last year, Fig. 20. Another form is the inter- 
sected cardboard discs, Fig. 21. Other forms can 
be used. 

Christmas and other paper rope used for decora- 
tion purposes could -be used to advantage for tails of FIGS. 19, 20, 21. 
kites. They will catch the breeze and can be festooned into pretty designs 
but will need cord supports to give strength. 

Don't throw away a kite because it has to have a tail. The tail is 
sometimes the most beautiful part. 


Kites are so numerous in kinds and design nowadays that, in order 
to get at any kind of intelligent discussion of them, it will be necessary 
to segregate them into classes and varieties as the scientist does in his 
investigations of nature study. There is the great big subject of con- 
structive sport called kite making. The name kite strikes joy to any 
live boy's heart and it does him good too. But kite making is too big, 
so we will try running some cross-roads thru, thus dividing it into 
smaller groups. 

A large number of kites can be classed together as having the same 
general make-up and we will call the first, Class A, Plain Surface 
Kites. These kites have one general surface without any built out 
parts, and can be subdivided into two divisions: 1. Geometric and 
regular forms, 2. Irregular and representative forms. 

There are two divisions of the geometric and regular forms: 

a. Tailless kites. 

b. Kites with tails, regular in form. 
The two divisions of irregular forms are : 

a. Set pieces of design. 

b. Insect, bird, animal, and man kites. 

This brings the analysis for Class A down to variety which will be 
discussed in succeeding chapters. 

Class B. Box-Kites, has six subdivisions: 

1. Square. 

2. Rectangular. 

3. Triangular. 

4. Cylindrical. 

5. Hexagonal. 

6. Tetrahedral. 

Class C. Combined Kites. Box-kites may have additions of plain 
surfaces, or combinations of curved surfaces and plain ones, giving 
shapes that represent hollow forms of fish, animals, etc. 

1. Straight extensions of plain surfaces. 

2. Hollow shapes representing animal and mechanical forms. 



Class D. Kites in Series. These are made up of combined kites 
also, but the combinations are so different that they belong in a class by 

1. Compound kites. 

2. Kites in tandem. 

a. Connected directly to one line. 

b. Connected by individual lines of some length to 

one main line. 

3. Dragon Kites. 

The plain kites are the more numerous for several reasons. They 
are more easily constructed, take less time, use less material, fly in 
lighter breeze, and are usually more stable in air. The construction as 
a rule consists of two or three sticks as a framework with a covering 
stretched over it so as to form a simple plane that is exposed to the 
breeze. Of course, there are tricks in making the plain kites, but almost 
any of them can be made to fly by either warping the surface or attach- 
ing a tail. 

Box-kites require considerable time and are more difficult in con- 
struction. They are a built up framework with cloth or strong paper 
coverings. The frames must be kept light and strong, and a process 
of trussing is necessary to accomplish this. The covering seldom covers 
the whole framework but usually is made in bands. The space enclosed 
by a band is called a cell. Most box-kites consist of a forward and rear 
cell, that is a band is found at each end around the framework, trans- 
versely to the length of the kite. Some of the most practical working 
kites are of the box-kite type. By working kite, I mean kites that are 
used for a purpose other than pleasure. 

Some box-kites have extended wings of plain surfaces to gain more 
lifting power, or for poise, and the application of these appendages 
serves to explain the combination of kinds that form this group. 

In the group "Kites in Series" we have kites of the same kind 
fastened rigidly together making one kite, called a compound kite, also 
kites fastened one after the other a few feet apart on one line and all 
started up at one time, and still another set of similar kites in which 
a numbr of kites are put up on individual strings, one at a time, for 


perhaps 300 feet, and are then attached to the main kite line. Boys 
sometimes succeed in pulling up as high as forty kites on one line by 
this method. Another very interesting and beautiful series is the 
Chinese dragon kite type. In this a number of kites are harnessed 
together with about three cords running from head to tail. 

These various groups will receive more explicit directions in separate 
chapters as we proceed. So far in our analysis we have been dealing 
with kinds of kites as to construction. There will be a number of 
chapters on various other features of kite work and accessories, includ- 
ing, Kite Decoration, Messengers, etc. The Chinese and Japanese 
people have been making kites a great many years and have become 
very skilful workers and decorators. Their decorations seem to tend 
more toward the dipicting of ugliness and fierceness instead of beauty 
and color harmony, altho many of the color combinations are very 
effective. The tendency toward fierceness can well be understood when 
we consider that it has a part in their religion, it being supposed that 
such ugly monsters helped to drive away the evil spirits. 

The large Japanese square kite, which is rectangular in shape instead 
of square, usually has a big head with plenty of the whites of the 
eyes and teeth showing. Some very fine specimens have been exhibited 
at our "Kite Tournaments". They expend quite freely in making up 
their kites, use costly ornaments and considerable gilt and black. The 
gilt is usually very good that is used. 

While the orientals have shown us some stunning effects in decora- 
tion, I believe that the future will show some results of color harmony 
and artistic spacing that will be much superior to theirs. We are 
busy as yet trying to master the kite craft from the constructive and 
flying side, but we are getting on, even on the decorative side as well. 

We are now ready to discuss variety in the next chapter. 


The tailless continues to be the most popular of all the kites. No 
matter how artistic, how representative, how curious, or how mechanical 
the new kites may be, the tailless is the first and last out every season. 
It flies in a very light breeze, and is so steady in the air. There are 
several kinds of tailless, but the two stick Eddy Kite seems to be the 
winner. These kites are made from five inches to thirty feet in height. 

-' Bo,*, 

FIGS. 22, 23, 24, 25. 

This kite, Figs. 8 and 22, has two sticks of equal length, the vertical 
stick is called the spine, and should be straight, while the bow is placed 
about one-fifth the distance down from the top of the spine. This bow 
stick is bent backward by inserting a brace stick as shown by Fig. 23. 




The advantage of a removable brace stick will be recognized when n 
person tries to carry several kites to a field at one time. If the brace 
stick is out, the kites lie flat and do not injure each other, so that 
twenty-five or more might be carried by one person, but if the kite is 
bowed, there may be great difficulty in carrying two or three. Most 
boys bow about three inches for a three-foot kite. See Chapter 1 for 
the stringing of this kite. 

FIGS. 26, 27, 28, 29. 

The tailless kites are nearly all constructed so as to have a keel 
projecting out to the front. In order that the keel may be of more 
service, the covering is not stretched tight, but is left loose. Perhaps an 
inch along each side would be allowed for bagging or pocketing. See 
Chapter I on covering. If the covering is drawn tight, the kite will 
dodge and will probably dive to destruction. 

Now we can modify this type form of kite. We can use two spines 
and two bows, Fig. 24. In this kite the upper bow should be bent more 



than the lower, and the bridle will be of more service if attached to the 
upper bow at two points about midway from spine to end of bow. The 
covering should not be quite so loose on this kite as on Fig. 22 but should 
not be tight. Another variation is given in Fig. 25, in which two spines 
are used and one bow. Sometimes the spines are crossed as shown in 
Fig. 26, the distance being much greater at the bottom than at the top 

*** **** 


FIGS. 30, 31, 32, 33. 

between the ends of the spine sticks. A modification of the last two is 
shown in Fig. 27, in which a built out keel is shown. Two small braces 
project from the bottom of each spine with a third stick connecting 
their meeting place with the center of the bow stick. 

Still one other combination is a form that can be used as a founda- 
tion for many outline shapes. It is shown in Fig. 28, and has two 
spines and two bows; but where much modification is made, a tail or 
other balancers must be used. A kite with a broken bow is like a bird 





with a broken wing, hut if broken in the center it can be redeemed for 
service by the addition of a cross-stick, as shown in Fig. 29. The 
broken part should be well lashed together. A kite could be successfully 
planned in this way from the beginning. It is possible to make a 
number of geometric or representative forms as tailless kites, but repre- 
sentative forms as a rule need tails. 

The shield, Fig. 30, is one of the tailless kites and the writer 
succeeded very well with a two bowed tailless in the shape of a six 
pointed star. See Fig. 32. 

Perhaps the largest group in real variation is that in which kites 
with tails or other forms of balances are found. And first and fore- 
most, comes our grandfathers' old English bow kite, Fig. 18, having a 
bow that curves upward, but not backward, over the end of a single 
spine. Tassels were added at each 
side of the kite at the termination 
of each end of the bow, and a long 
tail of rolled papers tied to a string 
with a cloth hanging at the end 
was attached to the bottom of the 

The great class of star kites, 
with varying numbers of points, 
and the geometric, hexagonal, octa- 
gonal, and other forms belong to 
this group. A three string bridle 
is most satisfactory for most of 
these forms. The two upper 
strings of bridle should be the 
same length but shorter than the 
lower string. The latter should 
be attached at a central point at the bottom. In case there is no stick to 
anchor to at the center of the bottom, four strings may be necessary or 
two longer ones may be used at the bottom and one shorter one at the top. 
However the bridle is attached, the shorter strings are always at the 
top, and the single string must be centrally located to right and left, 
whether at the top or bottom, and the double portions on equal distances 
to each side of center line. 

FIG. 36. 



The bridle for a single spine and how tailless is something attached 
at top and bottom of spine, or at the intersection of bow and spine, and 
at bottom of spine. In either case the bridle should be long enough 
so that when stretched out to the side of the kite while attached at the 
two points named, it will just reach out 
to the end of the bow; and at this point 
the kite line is attached; see Fig. 13. Fig. 
33 shows a hexagonal kite. The same 
framework could be covered as a star kite, 
Fig. 34. There may be any number of 
points to a star kite, but most boys make 
the six-pointed ones. Sometimes the 
points are arranged as in Fig. 35, and 
again as in Fig. 33. Fig. 36 shows a 
very interesting tail for smaller star kites. 
Fig. 37 has another arrangement of 
stars for the tail. Fig. 38 shows a pen- 
tagonal kite and its construction. The 
bridle might be attached at one upper 
point and the two lower points. Fig. 
39 shows an addition to the six-pointed 
star, in the shape of a crescent. Note 
that two sticks are longer, extending 
across the crescent, thus giving more 
rigidity to the surface. The outline of 
the crescent was made of split bamboo. 
In a similar manner, a broad circle could 
be formed about .Fig. 38. See 38a. 

Star and hexagonal kites are not the 
only members of the regular shapes with 
tails. The Japanese square kite, Fig. 
40, which is usually rectangular in shape, 
has a vertical spine, two diagonal spines, 

and several horizontal ribs that are lighter in weight than the spines. The 
larger the kite, the more horizontal ribs will be required. By making 

FIG. 37. 




FIGS. 38, 38a, 39, 40. 



i nnovable spines the kites can he rolled up and the Japanese have 
exhibited some very beautiful ones that have hern imported. Some of 
these cost as high as $30.00 or more. I he two long ropelike tails 
swinging in graceful, parallel curves give a beautiful effect to the 

FIG. 40a. 

whole kite. The bridle is usually attached at many places on this kite. 

Regular forms of kites are many. In Fig. 41 the circle is of reed 
or split bamboo. It would be well to fasten the bridle at four points. 
Fig. 42 needs no special explanation as the construction is similar 



to Fig. 41. The balloon kite is another modification. The ship 
kites, Figs. 43, 44, 45, 45a, show the construction in the drawing. 
A piece of pasteboard is used for the hull. They make pretty kites 

FIG. 43. FIG. 44. FIG. 45. 

The irregular forms are more representative, and to many, 
more interesting, because with patience and ingenuity almost any 
form can be made to float in the air. Soaring birds, Fig. 46, are 
attractive and their construction is unique. Split bamboo is mostly 
used for the framework. The Chinese boys take small strips of 


the Chinese tissue paper in lash the pieces of frame together. It 
is very light and if twisted \\lnle \vrt, he. -rimes tight and strong 
when dry. The covering is also ot Chinese tissue and colored with 
a \\ater color hnish. A group of about five of these kites is very interest- 
ing when soaring about on high. A pleasing modification is an ingenious 
tail attachment that is hinged to the body so that the tail drops and is 
raised again by the breeze, giving the appearance of fluttering when a 
little distance away. Fig. 47 is a photograph of three that were flown at 
one time and were mistaken by many for real birds, while Fig. 48 is a 
photograph of a pair with fluttering tails. In each picture the back of 
one bird is shown. In Fig. 47 the birds are flat but in Fig. 48 the bodies 
are rounded out, giving a keel to the kite. This is done by making a light 
framework of small split bamboo. Notice the little patches of paper 
on the back that hold the string, allowing the edge of the covering to 
float and flutter as feathers. The bridle attachment may be two strings, 
as in Fig. 13, and may be three, as in Fig. 14. A set piece is shown 
in Fig. 49, with an American flag fluttering as a balancer. This makes 
a very beautiful kite when enough time is put on it to make the bird 
stand out clear and real in appearance. One boy cut papers and stuck 
on to a background for feathers and while he succeeded well it is not 
necessary and not as effective as a few good strokes with a water color 

Butterflies offer a great variety in design and color, the best results 
being obtained by pasting the striking colors over the general covering. 
A more permanent kite can be made by using the Chinese tissue with 
strong water colors, and it is more a work of art. A kite thirty inches 
across, made of bamboo and Chinese paper will last for years if it has 
good care. Butterfly kites have been made to fly without tails but 
nearly all need one. Two drawings are shown, Fig. 50 shows the 
double tail of ribbon and button of cardboard at bottom. The body 
is curved like the bird form, Fig. 48, and the edge of the wing is 
scalloped but the waves are longer than for feathers. A Chinese boy 
made this and placed a small silk Chinese flag on one side of the 
head and a like American flag on the other. The antennae were 
pieces of small reed with silk balls that are sometimes used in orna- 
menting draperies and gowns. 









FIGS. 49, 49 a, SO, 51. 



Animal Forms. The animals 
are not limited to bears, but horses, 
elephants, etc., can be outlined in 
kite forms. P'ig. 52 shows a stand- 
ing bear with little bears swinging 
beween ropes as balancers for the 
large bear. The ropes in the kite 
may be strips of cambric. Small 
strips of wood should cross from 
one fope to the other back of the 
little bears which are made of 
medium thick cardboard. The 
bridle can be attached from the 
bear's shoulders to the bottom of 
the spine stick. The bridle is at- 
tached only to the large bear. 

A horse carrying a knight in 
armor, or horses hitched to a char- 

FIG. 52. 

iot, would take much planning but 
are within reach. An elephant with 
splendid equipment of royal hang- 
ings would make a gorgeous ap- 
pearance. When difficult problems 
of this kind are attempted it should 
- be by kite makers of experience as 
much adjusting will be necessary, 
and plans for framework will be 
needed that will give rigidity and 
lightness. Some parts in a complex 
design will need stiffening with 
reed bent out and around from the 
framework. Sometimes a small 
outline may be effected by means of 
stiff paper and again a string may 
be stretched from some distant stick 

FIG. 53. 



of the framework so as to carry the covering out to certain lines. By 
careful planning some very complicated forms can be worked out. In 
the mounted knight, Fig. 53, the nose of the horse will be a straight 
stick, but the upper line of neck and lower part of head will be bent 
reed, and of good weight. The 
raised knee and foot are reed, while 
the under side of neck changes 
from the line of the breast by- 
means of a string. The back of 
the foreleg on the ground is of 
string, while the extension of the 
stirrup might be of stiff paper. 
Much can be done with the brush. 
For instance, the dropping down 
of the rump to the tail would be FlG " 54 ' 

curved, let the outline run angular, then with a heavy streak of color, 
give form. A little silver paper on the armor will spice it up wonderfully. 

Fie. 55. 

We might consider a mechanical model, an electric coupe, Fig. 54. 
The tires may be some\vhat exaggerated and stationary, while the in- 



\ / 

FIGS. 56. 57. 58. 


side spokes and hub could be in the form of a small windmill so as to 
turn around, giving the effect of running. In such case, the fans should 
be so turned as to turn the wheels in the same direction. By the use of 
a double bridle and two kite lines, it would be possible to cause the 
auto to travel across the sky. Electric cars and locomotives might be 
similarly made and manipulated. 

When reed or bamboo are to be bent for some very particular form, 
it might be well to lay it out on a board with brads on each side, leaving 
it to dry. In this way a truer form may be secured. Bamboo can be 
bent into shape by a little heating over a flame. 

The human kite has all the possibilities of caricature in it, and there 
are some very funny attempts. "Just Boy," Fig. 55, is a good one, and 
"Foxy Grandpa" is popular. Fig. 56 is the "Squared Chinaman". The 
"Clown and Donkey," Fig. 57, is rather easy, being a combination of 
three tailless kites. The "Dutch Girl" makes a good kite, also "Me 
Happy," Fig. 58. In these as in the previous sub-group, much of the 
effect is dependent on skilful handling of brush, after the kite has been 
constructed. The flying depends much on the attachment of bridle and 


Box-kites were a new invention a very few years ago. People said, 
"No use trying to put a drygoods box up in the air," and yet some- 
thing very similar in shape has been successfully used for a number of 
practical purposes. The box-kites usually require more breeze than 
the plain surface kites, but are stronger pullers, which means also 
heavier lifters than their lighter breeze cousins. Before entering the 
discussion of box-kites, it will be well to understand some terms that 
are used quite generally by all kite enthusiasts. Fig. 59 is a plain two- 
celled box-kite; a, is the length of the kite. The framework consists 
of four sticks, one at each corner, and four braces, two near each end 
of the kite, placed diagonally across the inside of the kite from one 
corner stick to the other. The covering consists of two bands passing 
on the outside of the four corner sticks, one band at each end. 

The band and space enclosed is called a cell of the kite. So this kite 
has two cells. The length of the cell is the same as the width of the 
kite and is represented by b; the depth of the cell is the same as the 
height of the kite in its present position, and is shown by letter e; the 
breadth of the cell by letter d; and the distance between cells, c, is called 
the vent. Nearly all box-kites require the vent, and the vent is usually 
wider than the breadth of the cell. Usually the two cells, the fore and 
aft, are the same size, but not necessarily so. No one would be seen 
flying a box-kite with any kind of tail unless that had a purpose in 
carrying out the design. The square box-kite, Fig. 60, is square in 
cross-section, is very serviceable for flying, and is convenient for carry- 
ing. It is usually made to fold up, and the bridle is attached to one 
corner piece of the frame. This kite flies diagonally in the air. It is 
quite easy to attach the bridle to two corner sticks of the frame, when 
it flies horizontally, Fig. 61. Lining cambric is good for covering and 
some bright color should be used; but some prefer a good wrapping 
paper. Chinese tissue may be used if the kite is not too large. The 
corner sticks stand diagonally in the corners of the kite so that the 
notches of the braces can fit over them, see Fig. 62. The drawing 




r -, , 

, , 

El'do -'Lo 

FIG. 59. 

FIGS. 60, 61. 

FIGS. 62, 63. 

FIGS. 64, 65, 66. 


represents the end of the kite, with the corner sticks stretched apart. 
Fig. 63 represents a part of one of the braces. String and glue are 
used back of the notch to prevent splitting when the strain is put on 
them up in the air. The braces are made just a little long so that they 
bow a little when in place, and this stretches the cover tight. 

A word about getting the cover on the corner sticks may be in order. 
The distance around the kite is determined, and a band is made the 
right width and the right length to reach around when the braces are 
sprung to place. Stretch the band out like a rubber band, Fig. 64, and 
put in two corner sticks at a and b that have previously been glued on 
one edge, and allowed to partially dry until it is what is called tacky. 
Now the band at the other end should also be glued in place when the 
progress will show as in Fig. 65. Remember the glue is only on the 
outer edge of the sticks. Now find and mark the exact center between 
the sticks glued in place and fold to these two lines, and glue in the other 
two sticks in a similar manner. The progress made will be as shown 
in Fig. 66. When the glue is thoroly dry, the kite is ready for the 
braces and for flying. The braces might be tied together where they 
cross each other. A good size for the corner sticks is I V / xy / x36 // with 
bands 10" wide and 64" long, plus 1" additional for the hem. This 
will give 16" for each side. Enough will be needed additional in 
width so as to allow a \" hem for each side. Each band then will 
require a strip of cloth or paper 11" wide and 65" long. With paper 
bands the \" should be folded over and a string should be glued inside 
to strengthen the edge. The braces should be "x|"x21f" from the 
bottom of one notch to the bottom of the other, see Fig. 62. 

Rectangular Kite. The next is the rectangular kite, as shown in 
Fig. 67. This is a splendid kite of its kind and should have specific 
measurements. The two center pieces called the spines are f"x : !j" the 
corner and cross-pieces f'xf". The bands for cells are 21" wide by 18', 
with 1" additional for the seam. The edges should be hemmed as in 
previous kite. The framework should be all thoroly wired in every 
direction as shown by drawing, Fig. 68. Little wire turnbuckles such 
as are sold by firms carrying model aeroplane supplies might be used, 
and the stretch of the wires could be taken up from time to time. A 



well made kite will last a long time if it has good care. This particular 
construction is for large kites and they are not often made to fold, 
altho it is possible to make them so. Out of the box-kite has grown the 
aeroplane. Some good sizes for kites are: 

Six-foot kite: 6' long, 6' wide, 3' deep, 1'9" width of cell, 

f "xf " corner-pieces, 2'6" between cells, f "xg" spines. 
Nine-foot kite: 9' long, 9' wide, 4' deep, 2'6" width of cell, 

f'xf" corner-pieces, 4' between cells, l"xl" spines. 
Twelve-foot kite: 12' long, 12' wide, 6' deep, 3'6" width of 
cell, "x" corner pieces, 5' between cells, l-]-"xl|" spines. 

FIG. 68. FIG. 67. 

The two kites just described may be modified in a number of ways 
as follows: Two square kites side by side will give Fig. 69, and three 
side by side Fig. 70; these might be increased in both directions until a 



"xl NJ TM 


J C 

FIGS. 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74. 



FIGS. 75, 76, 77, 78, 79. 


kite like Fig. 71 mi^ght he evolved. Hut there is no great gain and much 
hindrance in some of these complications. If there is insufficient room 
hetween upper and lower surface, not all of the surface is exposed and 
there is skin friction, again if there is not space enough hetween the 

FIG. 80. FIG. 81. FIG. 82. FIG. 83. 

fore and back cells, the front cuts off the air pressure to some extent 
on the back cells. So Fig. 72 is not high enough, while Fig. 73 has the 
fore and back cells too close together. Fig. 74 is very unstable in the air. 
The triangular cross-section has the advantage of a bracing frame- 
work and is easy in combination. The bridle is attached to one of the 
long sticks and the kite rides on a keel, Fig. 75. Three braces about 
the middle of each cell keep the corner sticks out to place. These can 
be put in at the field, thus allowing the kite to be rolled for transporta- 
tion. The triangular kite is sometimes lengthened so as to use three 
cells, Fig. 76, and again two kites are placed side by side, Fig. 77, and 
this may be increased by placing another below both, as in Fig. 78. In 
the last combination we have a large kite to the outside and a smaller 
one to the inside which can be lengthened so as to give three cells in 
length, Fig. 79, and many other combinations can be made. 

Tetrahedral Kite. Out of the triangular has grown the celebrated 
Bell tetrahedral kites, which can be increased in size beyond that of any 
other kite. No attempt will be made to give an exhaustive description 
or full construction of these wonderful kites as Dr. Bell has written 
a number of good articles on the subject for the Scientific American and 
other magazines. There have been some wonderful kites made on this 
principle of construction. In simple kites of this construction we have 
a large tetrahedral frame composed of six sticks, Fig. 80. Owing to 
the bracing effect, remarkably small material can be used. For a kite 
four feet to an edge, T V' sticks were ample. All of the drawings given 



here represent the kite resting on iis keel, tho a kite left in that 
position would topple over unless supported in some way. Now we 
will divide this large tetrahedral horizontally by four sticks. Fig. 81, 
and in Fig. 82 strings are run from the ends of the four horizontal 

FIG. S+. FIG. 85. 

sticks to the middle of the keel, also to the middle of the upper ridge 
stick. Some use sticks in place of the strings, but if the kite is not 
too large the strings are as good and in small kites better. Fig. 
83 shows a four-celled tetrahedral with the coverings on. Fig. 84 
shows a further division in which each cell of Fig. 83 is again di- 
vided into four cells, making a 16-celled kite. The kite rides in 
the air tipped as shown in Fig. 85. Look up some of the articles 
given in the "Bibliography of Kites" tor further discussions of this type. 

The hexagonal kite is also an outgrowth of the triangular. Looking 
at the end of a hexagonal kite, three brace sticks will be seen, Fig. 86, 
which can be made removable, thus allowing the kite and its covering 



to he rolled. The kite will be more stable in the air if one side is down, 
so the bridle will be attached to two of the long sticks, and if it proves 

unmanageable, at four points. 

The circular cross-sectioned or 
barrel kite is more of a curiosity. 
It has two cells, and the frame is 
made up of four circles, either of 
split bamboo, reed, or thin tough 
wood. The circle should be shaped 
before further construction is at- 
tempted. Most of the strain will 
come on the circles so the ribs, 
connecting the four circles, may be 
quite light and slender. There will 
be less danger of twisting out of 
shape if more than two ribs are 
used. The ribs should be lashed 
to the rings with thread or twisted 
paper. No braces are necessary in 
the small ones; a long stick slant- 
ing thru the entire kite may be 
used in the larger ones, see Fig. 87, 
with covering. 

A pentagonal frame could be 
constructed with three braces, Fig. 
88, and should be flown in the 

position shown. 
FIGS. 86, 87, 88. 



Straight Extension of Surfaces. One of the most efficient and 
popular kites in the combined construction group is the two spined tail- 
less, called the house kite, and the triangular box-kite, as shown by Fig. 
89. This is an easy kite to make and the proportions are easy to 
remember. The simplest plan is shown in Fig. 90. Three sticks of the 
same size are used; say, f"x^"x4^'. The horizontal stick is lashed to 
the two vertical spines down one-third the distance from the top, in this 
case IS". The two spines are also 18" apart, which leaves the extension 
of the horizontal 18" to each side of spines. Now run a string around 
the outside of the framework, and cover as in Fig. 91. The two cells 
are now built over the two spaces between the spines. There need not 
be any braces for these cells, but another stick of the same dimensions 
as the other three is used to keep the keel shaped portion in place when 
pulled out by the breeze. The whole framework can be built rigid 
using two short braces about 
the middle of each cell out to 
the fourth stick or keel of 
kite; the best way, however, 
is to make the horizontal 
stick removable and without 
the short braces so that the 
kite may be rolled up. Re- 
member there are only four 
sticks in such a kite and they 

are all the same size. This 

... . n j . FIG. 89. 

kite is sometimes called the 

"Coyne Kite," again the "French War Kite," and is a steady flyer and a 
strong puller. The bridle can be adjusted so as to give much or little in- 
clination to the breeze. For lazy, easy gliding, the kite would be adjusted 
so as to be nearer horizontal. This kite can be modified by a lower hori- 




xontal two-thirds down ot tlir same length as ihf upper horizontal, as in 
Fig. 92, or with the lower horizontal shorter, as in Fig. 93. The horizon- 
tals may he bowed forward and also backward. We have had all sizes of 
this kite at the tournaments. Fig. 94 is about iive inches tall, while 
another was sixteen feet tall and required quite an army of boys to pull 
it up in the air. 

FIGS. 90, 91, 92, 93. 

A similar combination can be made with the square box-kite on the 
diagonal with straight surfaces out to each side, as shown in Fig. 95. 



Besides the four vertical sticks, there arc four honV.ontal pieces of thr 
same length and one short brace placed centrally in each cell to keep 
the fore and hack sticks apart. The short braces can he notched to slip 
into place and on being removed will let the kite down Hat. This 
kite will need to be more rigid than the one just described. A hexagonal 
box-kite could be made with side wings by extending one of the braces 
at each end, Fig. 96, and the pentagonal form could be similarly 
modified. Fig. 97 has a little different plan of extension that looks 
more like wings. A triangular box-kite is used as the main structure 
to build on. Three long sticks are required with four short braces on 

each side, eight in all, with eight wing sticks, four 
long and four shorter, that are attached to an inner 
long stick of the box-like portion and extend across 
to the short brace 'of the opposite side. When a pair 
of the extension sticks are fastened to place, they are 
lashed together at their crossing point. The slant- 
ing extensions are strongly built and add poise to 
the kite. 

The poise of a rectangular kite may be increased 
by the addition of slant extensions. The extension 
pieces start from the lower corner pieces, pass under 
the upper corner pieces, lashing fast at both places, 
Fig. 98. If a little variety in outline is desired, split 
bamboo or reed could be used to make such forms as 
are desired ; even string connections can be made. 

In making hollow form objects both patience and 
skill are necessary. A form that is interesting but 
not representative of any real object is show T n in 
Fig. 99. Another is the arrow kite, Fig. 100. The 
flying bird kite should make a good problem for 
some ingenious chap. The framework and string- 
ing is shown in Fig. 101. The cross-section of the body of the bird is 
about the shape of a tailless kite. The plan gives such good bracing 
construction that very light material may be used. Four feet would be 

FIG. 94. 


a good length for this kite. The soaring bird, Fig. "102, is quite similar 

in construction to the proceeding kite. The body is never square in 

cross-section. A little bow is given to the tip ends of the wings. The 

back line of the wing changes by 

means of an extra cord. This 

kite is not as stable as "The flying 


The "flying fish," Fig. 103, 
needs vents, as the whole body is 
a box-kite. Two vie\vs of the 
framework are given; a center FIG. 95. 

spine runs the entire length of the fish with two curves at the mouth. 
The mouth is left open, so string is used for the outline. The original 
kite was very mechanically made. It was beyond amateur work and 
showed that some skilled workman had assisted. Much can be done with 
the brush to make this a very interesting kite. Scales can be painted and 
the fins and tail lined up. Wherever vents are placed, there should be 
a string for the edge of the paper to turn over, or it will tear out. 

The "Clown and Donkey," Fig. 57, is the combination of three 
tailless kites, and is what is known as a compound kite. Fig. 104 is 
another example of compounding. Fig. 105 shows a star kite com- 
pounded together. 

Kites in Series. A boy may put up a kite about five hundred feet, 
and if it is a good flyer, tie the kite line fast and put up another on 
perhaps three hundred feet of string. If the second is also a steady 
flyer he can tie the end of that kite line to the first and let out per- 
haps three hundred feet more of the first line, and again tie it fast. 
Another kite is added in the same manner as the second and so on. 
The best flyers of the series should be placed as leaders. Boys have 
put up as high as forty kites in such a series, and no one has any 
idea of the beauty of such a series, when looking up from the stand- 
point of the flyer, until he has actually seen such a combination. 
Some prefer to take a color scheme and use it for all the kites, 
others prefer a great variety of colors, and it is hard to tell which 
is the most pleasing. Tailless kites are used more than any other 



FIGS. 96, 97, 98, 99. 



for such purposes. Fig. 106 shows the arrangement. This is one 
of the best schemes for high flying. The first kite should not be put 
out to the limit of its lifting power else when the rest of the string 

FIG. 100. 

FIG. 101. 

is lifted it will not mount up higher. It should have considerable 
reserve when the second kite is attached. For high flying, the kites 
should be placed farther apart, and the first part of the line should 
be light and strong and the thickness increased as needed for strength 
of the combined kites. Kites can be put up to a great height in this 
way. This way of combining kites is called "Kites in Tandem." 



FIG. 103. 



Another way of flying kites in tandem is to fasten all kites di- 
rectly to the one kite line, the line passing thru each kite after the 
the first. This method however requires a helper for each kite and 

3 '--. 


FIG. 104. 

FIG. 105. 

they are placed closer together. At one of the Los Angeles Tour- 
naments, two boys had a beautiful team of green and white kites 
arranged in the second series of tandem. The kites were of the tri- 
angular box and house kite order, Fig. 89, were six feet and nine 
feet tall, and were nine in number. There was insufficient breeze to 
fly them well, but it was great sport for thirty or forty boys to run 
with the kite line. They were strong enough to lift up a large 
man. The heaviest pull that was registered was a little over two 
hundred pounds, but in a good breeze they would have pulled over 
four hundred. I would like to show y you a picture of them, but I 
failed to get one. 

In the second series of tandems, while all kites are attached to 
the same line directly, there is an individual bridle for each kite, but 
in the third series we have a sort of harness that combines all kites 
together, so that if one tips forward, all tip forward, and vice versa. 
It will be seen that in Figs. 107 and 108 where a number of tailless 
kites are arranged in a regular series, that there is a complete har- 
ness running from the larger kite as a head, to the banner floating 



FIG. 106. 


FIG. 107. 



out at the rear. Four cords are attached, one at the top, another 
at the bottom, and one at each side. The distances between all points 
are the same, so when the head tips forward, the second kite has a 
similar inclination to the breeze, and so on thruout the whole series. 

FIG. 108. 

The bridle is attached at the four points at the head, so attached as 

to give a good flying inclination. This series is called a "Tailless 

Dragon Kite" and flies well and makes a fine appearance in the air. 

The tailless dragon can be made more ornamental and seem more 

FIG. 109. 

connected, by extending the spine above the kite as in the head, a string 
with a feather edge of tissue paper being festooned from the top of one 
kite in the series to the next. At the bottom of each kite some streamers 
of tissue paper would help in the same manner, Fig. 109. The regular 





Chinese centipede kite, Fig. 110, is nor so ilitrmilt M>\V that \vc have 
harnessed the tailless dragon. 

The Chinese say there should never he more than three strings to 
bridle or harness; this bridle has two strings to the head of the dra- 
gon, and three strings to the harness. The harness consists of the 
three strings running from one 
end of the kite to the other. The 
Chinese dragon kite usually, if not 
always, has circular disks for the 
body of the monster. Fig. 1 1 1 
shows a beautiful kite hung on the 
wall for decorative purposes and 
shows the design on the individual 
sections, while Fig. 112 shows the 
same kite held by boys on the lawn. 
The lighter portion on the disk is 
green with gilt scales, while the 
darker portion is scarlet. The head 
is all colors, with red mouth, white 

teeth, eyes that revolve with little mirrors thereon to flash the sun- 
light. The framework for the head is shown in Fig. 113. While the 
framework for each circular disk, Fig. 114, is just a band of bamboo, 
with a light strip of bamboo to which the peacock feathers are attached 

as balancers, the disks are covered 
with Chinese paper and decorated. 
The disks are 10" and the balanc- 
er sticks 30". The feathers are 

FIG. 113. 

FIG. 114. 

lashed to the balancer sticks. The 
disks are 12" apart. The last disk 
has streamers of ribbon or tissue 

paper. This kite flies well and sways about like an immense brightly 

colored caterpillar up in the air. 

The dragon kite, Fig. 115, was very beautiful and flew high in 

the air. The colors were pink and white. Instead of feathers for 

balancers, tufts of tissue paper were used. A special balancer was 



used for the whole kite in ihc form ot a hollow hall. Small reed or 
bamboo was used for the skeleton, and this was covered with tissue 
paper. See it hanging below the kites head in the picture. The various 
sections are covered with different colored papers. The heads differ, 
but otherwise the kites are quite similar in construction. 

FIG. us. 


Kites may be decorated in three general ways. Piece work in cover- 
ing; overlaying, called aplaca; and brush work. The decoration of 
kites presents some unique problems. The great distances at which 
the decorations are to be seen force ? study of the carrying qualities of 

The star kite is probably the best for decoration, as the spacing 
falls in easier relationships than some of the other forms. In the kite 
shown in Fig. 116 the covering is applied so as to give a decorative 
effect, and it showed up splendidly in the air. The colors did not 
stand out as well as might be expected, however, and while high in 
the air it was nearly overlooked by the judges. When brought nearer 
it received the first pri/e. Another way of combining colors is to 
make one half one color and the 
other half another, giving a light 
and shade effect to each point, Fig. 

Fig. 37 shows a pleasing ar- 
rangement of spaces. The kite is 
first covered with the body color, 
then the bandings are put on, and 
lastly the spots. A banding around 
the outside of the stars in the tail 
is effective and in keeping. Passe- 
partout is excellent for banding in 
some places. 

The five-pointed star kite, Fig. 
38, is neat arid artistic. The 
framework is given to the 

The Six-pointed Star, Fig. 118, has interesting spaces and paths. 
The wide paths running to the center are divided by passe-partout. 
The discs at the points are in keeping with the large one at the center. 

FIG. 116. 




The main cover was in two tones of grey green. The one spine and 
two bowed tailless kite gives good opportunity for decoration. Fig. 
119 is designed as a banner kite, Fig. 120 a conventionalized bull pup, 
and Fig. 121 a flower form. The two stick tailless kite is not as 
easy to space well as some of the others, yet a number of excellently 
decorated kites of this form, have been exhibited. Fig. 122 has a blue 
body and black paths with gilt over the black. The gilt was put on 
by hand. Fig. 123 is very similar in design but with light paths be- 
tween dark. Fig. 124 has a red, white and blue combination with 

FIG. 117. 

FIG. 119. 

black paths and gilt stripes on the color spaces. In Fig. 125 the radi- 
ating lines would be curved in the air. 

The Japanese square kite, Fig. 126, is like a canvas, ready for a 
grotesque figure, a beautiful landscape, or a conventional design, and 
many of these have been very artistically decorated. 

For box-kites with bands as a part of their construction, the band- 
ing designs seem more consistent, and so are used more. See Figs. 
127-133. Fish, bird, butterfly, boy, man, and clown kites and all 
forms of representative kites require considerable brush work. Fig. 134 
is a beautiful brown kite all decorated with the brush. The school 
building in the center was painted with water colors. The fish kite, 
Fig. 135, is all hand work. Fig. 136 is the head for a dragon kite 



and should have considerable fierceness. Fig. 137 has the decorative 
feature in carefully planned lettering which possesses a good space filling 

Some very satisfactory results are obtained by using good colors, say 
blue and black, relieved with gilt. Red and white makes a pleasing 
combination, also red and black. A circle divided into three parts 

FIG. 118. 

FIG. 122. 

presents a little problem in color harmony analysis. There are threr 
primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. We may use blue in a color 
scheme. Combining the other two colors, red and yellow, we get 
orange. Orange is called the complement of blue, but orange is too 
strong, and a better color harmony is formed by the addition of some 
of the third color, the blue to the orange, which will give a brown. 
Now brown and blue make a better color harmony than orange and 
blue. So it runs, two primary colors give a secondary, but the colors 
are more pleasing when subdued with the third color or by the addition 
of grey or white. Red and olive will need dividing paths of some 



FIGS. 123, 124, 125, 126. 










strong color, black or white. When gilt is used it must be edged with 
black or some very dark color or it loses its effectiveness. While 
orange is too strong for combination with blue, it is good with black. 
When yellow is used with the purples it should be a modest vellow. 

FIG. 134. 

FIG. ;2J 

Just as in landscape where the highlights are warm colors, we 
seek a cool color for shadows, and vice versa, so with color combination 
we strike across the color circle and choose a warm and cool color for 
balance. Some of the analogous hues are very pleasing, but unless 
quite a little variation of color is used, the design soon loses out in the 
distance. Browns, greens, reds, blues, etc., may be used in their indi- 
vidual color schemes, but the throwing in of some opposite color has 
a spicing up effect that is helpful. A dark brown, medium brown, a 
dull 5 r elloiv, and a light but not brilliant yellow, give a good combi- 
nation. Some color schemes that are very beautiful for rugs and in- 
terior decoration do not carry far enough to be used on a kite. Some 
very brilliant colors that might shock us close by, are charming when 
far up in the uir. 



But this is not a treatise on color work, and the subject is so great, 
that we must leave it here. Sometimes striped effects are made with 
gummed papers similar to passe-partout. The little mirrors mentioned 
are such as are used on gowns and draperies. They are set in little 

FIG. 136. 

FIG. 137. 

rims of light brass and with a good allowance of paste may be stuck 
sufficiently well to any portion of the kite to hold during a tourna- 
ment. The mirrors might be found at Chinese stores. Whirling de- 
vices, to be treated in a following chapter, may also be used for orna- 
mentation. Tassels, streamers, and banners all serve a purpose of artis- 
tic makeup when properly used. 


All are more or less familiar with the piece of paper with a hole in 
it that is slipped over the string of a kite high in the air. The wind 
catches it and whirls it along, until it finally reaches its destination, 
the kite. Sometimes urgent business demands several communica- 
tions to the kite, so several pieces of paper are seen whirling at various 
distances from the boy, making their way, now slowly, now faster, over- 
taking, falling behind and so on until they fulfill their mission. Such is 
the usual kite messenger. 

A clever little messenger was described by Nungent in St. 
Nicholas , for October, 1900. This has been modified and used at a 
number of kite tournaments. It is in the form of a little yacht, and 
has a beam on which is attached two pulleys under which the kite 
line runs, a mast that carries the sail and that also extends downward 
thru the hull to carry a weight that holds the yacht upright. The 
mast slants backward a little so as to brace against the pull of the 
sail. The sail is held up by a string that is attached to an easy trip, 
and when released the sail drops and the yacht returns down the kite 
line to the operator by gravity. Fig. 138 
shows a complete model with sail up as 
it appears on the up trip. Fig. 139 
shows a complete model with sail up as 
made of a light wood, "x"x!5", por- 
tions are cut away to reduce weight; 
the mast b, is round, \" in diameter 
at bottom, tapering to a point at the top, 
is 29|" long, 9" below the beam and 20" 
above; the mast is lashed to the side F IG . 133. 

of the beam; c and, d are yard arms 

c being 16" and d 14" long and both about " to T y thru; 
c is lashed above the beam, and d is hung by a thread 15" 
higher up. A thread is run from each end of both yard arms to 
the top of the metal loop supporting the back pulley wheel. The 




threads are for the purpose of preventing twisting of the sail. The 
sail is of some light soft material that is very pliable in the breeze. 
Some use silk, others soft cotton, and some paper. I used a Chinese 

'P. FIG. 139. 

tissue paper sail and found it very satisfactory ; it lasted several sea- 
sons. The strong way of the paper should be put on up and down. 



FIG. 140. 

FIG. 141. 

FIG. 142. 

The sail is pasted or sewed to the yard arms. The sail line is a 
piece of linen thread that is fastened to the middle of the upper yard 
arm, passing thru a loop made of small wire, u, which is lashed to 


the mast, see Fig. 140. The line then passes to the eye of the wire 
forming the trip on the side of the beam, see Fig. 141. t is a small 
nail in the side of the beam a; m is a long slim wire nail with an 
eye bent at the top and two bends at right angles about half way 
down. A piece of small spring brass wire will do as well as the 
slim nail. A small round wooden stick, e, not larger than \" at the 
largest end and about 14" long lies loosely in the screw-eyes, r and s, 
under the beam. The end of the hook that tht sail line is fastened to 

FIG. 144. FIG. 145. FIG. 143. 

passes down thru a small hole in the end of the small stick e. A 
weight, p, is secured to the lower end of the mast to prevent over- 
turning of the yacht, and a piece of light cardboard is used for the 

The pulley wheels can be turned on a lathe or small metal ones, 
especially aluminum can be used. Strips of tin make good frames for 
the wheels, and are attached to both sides of the beams. If wooden 
wheels are used, care should be taken to see that the holes are in the 
center. Wire nails make good axles. The kite line is liable to jump 



out the grooves of the wheels, so small screw-eyes placed in the beam 
just in front and behind each wheel will keep the kite line in place. 
It may be an advantage to press the eye together some so as to make 
an elongated hole, Fig. 142. Some care will be necessary to see that 
the screw-eyes are screwed in just the right distance so as to prevent 
the string from resting on the screweyes instead of the grooved wheels. 
The Release. The sail is tripped by the stick, e, being pushed 

FIG. 146. FIG. 147. 

against an obstruction of cardboard fastened perhaps three hundred 
feet from the kite, see Fig. 143. The reason for placing it away 
from the kite is that when the weight comes on the kite line, the last 
part of the trip is very steep; by placing the obstruction some distance 
from the kite this difficulty is largely overcome. 

As a final warning, the sail line should just be tight enough to 
hold the sail in place while going up and not tight enough to prevent 
easy tripping when e touches the obstruction disk. Some put on elastic 


bands to pull the sail down quickly when it is tripped. The nearer 
the sail can float out straight behind on the return trip, the less resis- 
tance there will be to the breeze. Some even go so far as to have 
ittle rolling up device for the sail. A thread should be attached 
to the beam and to the little rod e to prevent its falling out on the 
down trip. 

The Chinese and Japanese sometimes have little messengers that 
are released when a punk burns down so as to burn off a supporting 
thread. This might be applied to parachutes too. Another good de- 
vice but which is not self-propelling on the upward trip is the trolley 
car, Fig. 144. The car is pulled up the kite line to a trip, when it is 
released and returns by gravity. The pulley block is tied into the 
kite line, Fig. 145. The line below the block passes thru the car under 
a little roller on the inside of the car at each end. The car can be 
made up of any light material, but need not be as light as self propelled 
devices, the weight being an advantage on the downward run. The 
line that pulls the car up passes around the grooved pulley, thru the 
guides in the pulley block and one end goes to the car while the other 
goes to the operator. A release is necessary, and perhaps a little sharp 
blade like a safety razor blade will be as effective as any, Fig. 146. 
In Fig. 147 another trip is shown in which a wire is bent, as at a. 
This wire passes up thru the upper portion of the roof at b, and passes 
thru screw-eyes c and d\ d is bent forward. The lower portion of 
the wire as represented is much longer than the upper, and when it 
touches the pulley block is pushed back, and the shorter portion is pushed 
back of screw-eye d, which releases the small ring, e, to which the pulling 
line to the operator is attached, and also sets free the car to run down 
the kite line. This last is not a difficult attachment and seems a little 
more scientifically mechanical. 

There are other ways of effecting the release. A good pulling 
kite is necessary, as in the excitement of pulling up the car, more 
strain is put on the kite than one would realize. If a race is on, 
a fishing reel would be an advantage. This last messenger is not 
limited to the street car, but the form might be a locomotive and 
train, an automobile or an air ship. The latter might have adjustable 


wings so as to be open to the breeze on the up trip and so be self 
propelling as in the yacht, and by releasing that which holds the wings 
open, they will close up, and the messenger would be ready for the 
down trip. In the messenger races, it is necessary to measure the 
string. At a tournament it is necessary to do this beforehand. It 
is not necessary, but more interesting, to have all the contestants oper- 
ating at the same time. In case all cannot operate together, each 
can be timed. Some very comical devices might be devised as messen- 
gers, not so much for speed as for amusement. Certain motions might 
be developed that would add much to the entertainment of all. 


Most of the moving devices on kites are operated best by means 
of windmills. The windmill can be placed back of the kite out of 
sight. Various movements can be devised such as opening and shutting 
of eyes and mouth and moving of ears. Feet and hands can be made 
to dangle without any device. The windmill can also be used for 
decorative purposes. 

Windmills. There are two general kinds of windmills. Those 
turning from left to right and vice versa, and those turning fore and 
back. The last named type is used for eyes that turn. The eyes are 
set in little rims of some stiff material, a thin piece of bamboo, shav- 
ing, or stiff cardboard. Holes are cut in the covering of the kite and 
these rims are pasted in so as to stand edgewise. These rims prevent 
the interference of any obstruction to the revolving eyes. The eye 
may be set in place by means of a wire running thru each side of the 
rim and thru the eye. The eye has a smaller rim on which two half 
circles of paper are pasted, see Fig. 148. A little paper wound into 
a little ball would be made by the Chinese boys, but a glass bead will 
answer to keep the eye away from the rim of the opening. The two 
semicircles of paper are on the two halves of the eye. In Fig. 148, 
a is on the upper half of the front side while the other semicircle, b, 
is on the lower half of the back. Sometimes little mirrors are pasted 
to the eyes, as at m, to reflect the light as they spin around, which they 
certainly do, if nicely set in their places. Some 
use considerable black on one half and white "*^ 

on the other, giving a blinking effect. This same 
kind of revolving disk is sometimes used on 
wires or cord to the outside of the kite, see Fig. 

r IG. 14o. 


The revolving device, while not as familiar as our little windmills, 
is more easily secured in position but it is not impossible and in fact 
is not a very difficult task to fasten the windmills. The windmills 
can be made of stiff paper, any stiff cover paper will do; they spin 




well and arc very light. They are usually made of a square piece 
of paper which is cut on the diagonal nearly to the center, Fig. 149; 
one of the points of each section is then brought a little past the cen- 
ter and a pin pushed thru, Fig. 150. These little whirligigs can be 
attached with the pin to the framework of the kite at various places. 

FIG. 149. 

FIG. 150. 

Larger mills can be made of stiffer paper, as bristol board, but the 
larger sizes will need more anchorage. The wheel will need an axle 
of wire and to secure it, a paper, perhaps several, will need to be 
pasted to the wheel and on the wire to prevent its flopping over. 
The wheels are made from a cir- 
cular piece and are slitted from the 
circumference to near to the cen- 
ter and the sections are curved by 
drawing the paper over a pencil or 
similar object until the right cur- 
vature is obtained, Fig. 151. All 
the sections of a wheel are curved 
the same way but where there are 
more than one, part should turn 
to the right and the others to the 
left. The framework supporting 
the axle should reach across the 
opening and there should be a strip 
on each side as shown in Fig. 152. pj G 151, p IG _ 152. 







If the fans will not remain curved, a wire can be run around the outer 
edge, thus keeping the fans in place and at the proper angle. Other 
windmills are made with wooden axles that have little diagonal cuts to 
receive pieces of thin stiff cardboard as fans. These can usually be 
purchased, but they can also be made; Fig. 153, has one fan removed. 
Make a small block and with small saw, make little cuts on the diagonal 
and set the fans in with glue. Some make little windmills of aluminum, 
which are similar to the ones made of light cardboard. Windmills can 
be applied in many ways ; for example, they may represent wheels on an 
automobile kite, Fig. 154, in which the tires are large and the windmill 
serves as the center of the wheel. When turning around it cannot 
be seen that the tire is not turning. Another wheel is shown at a 
in which small slanting fans are attached. 

The most difficult part in making the auto kite 
is to keep it light and in poise. It will readily be 
seen that the automobile is a triangular box-kite. 
The hood of the engine should be open at both ends, 
with string across to represent screen. The hood 
instead of being a dead weight will have considerable 
lifting power, being part of a barrel kite. A framework is shown in Fig. 
155. The top of the auto might be black or tan, the body red, black, 
grey, green or brown, the tires light tan, and the moving part of the 
wheels light yellow. 

The steamboat kite, Figs. 156 and 157, is another application of 
the moving wheel but this construction is simpler and the attachment 
of wheel is better. In this model a part of the wheel is shielded from 
the breeze, so the uneven pressure causes it to revolve. This "is a 
very feasible and interesting problem. Fig. 158 shows a kite with a 
wagging head above it. When we understand this device, we should 
be able to plan many others. The windmill is set in the open part of 
the kite. Two cross-sticks are used so it is quite easy to attach a 
vertical piece to the two for support of the aluminum wheel. A little 
hub has a groove in it that a cord belt runs in, and from that to another 
grooved wheel to the back of the kite Fig. 159. A lath nail cut off 
for a small crank pin, ;', is located near the outer edge of this grooved 



FIGS. 154, 155. 




* * | * " f ' /TrTTrr7TiinT7Tml|liiiiiii)r'|niiliTT| 

FIGS. 156, 157. 

FIG. 158. 



wheel. A vertical lever, h, with axis at i, ha's an elongated hole at 
the lower end that works over the crank-pin and as k revolves, the 
lever operates from side to side. The hole must be long enough for 
the crank-pin to reach its highest and lowest point easily. The elon- 
gated hole can be effected by extending a wire loop down from the 
end of the vertical lever to work on the crank-pin. The wire should 
be lashed with linen thread to the vertical lever and coated over with 
glue. An object can be used on the upper end, such as a head, a flag, 
etc. In the same manner, hands and feet may be extended and with- 
drawn, a turtle might be made to draw in head and feet and many 
other interesting operations, but in all of these the machinery must 
work easily, must not lop over against anything else and above all 
we must remember not to load down our kite with weight or over- 
balance it with undue leverage at any part of the kite. 

Another way of attaching to windmill is to make the wire axle 
long enough to pass thru and at the back bend into a crank, Fig. 160. 

FIG. 159. 






/ ,' 







v ^ 

^ / 

FIG. 160. 

FIG. 161. 

The lever h would work direct on this crank as it does on the crank- 
pin in the device with the second grooved pulley, k, Fig. 159. To 
make the head go up and down, use a round hole instead of the elon- 
gated ones in the vertical shaft. A loop of wire, Fig. 161, should 


hold the upper part of the vertical lever in place, and in case of the 
head bobbing up and down, the lever is not attached at i, Fig. 159, 
but the loop, Fig. 161, must not be omitted. 

Other Devices. But windmills are not the only means of ope- 
rating moving parts of a kite. An extra line to the ground will give 
opportunity to the kite flyer to open and shut eyes and mouth and 
move ears at will. Ears could be made to grow a foot and then be 
drawn back by light elastic bands. The mouth might open and a 
red tongue mn out, or a pocket in the mouth might be turned inside 
out, thus releasing a shower of bits of paper, white, colored, gilt, and 
silver. Let the imagination play for a time, then set the inventive 
machinery of the brain to work and "watch us grow." 


These devices are usually suspended from the kite line. It is neces- 
sary to have enough suspension cords attached to prevent twisting up 
with the main line. Most of the devices will float out and have some 
lifting power of their own, but some will require a kite that can sus- 
tain some weight, in some cases a pound or more. 

Flags and Banners. One of the prettiest attachments is the 
American flag. This can be attached in two ways: first by means 
of a vertical stick of some weight, Fig. 162, and second by using the 
horizontal stick, as in Fig. 163. A pleasing trick is to have the flag 
folded (do not wind on the stick) and covered, tied loosely with bow- 
knots that are easily untied, and when the flag is well up, the tripping 
string is pulled and the flag released. The string of the bow-knot 




1 -- 


FIG. 163. FIG. 162. 

passes down the kite line thru little loops of wire attached to the main 
line to prevent the tripping string from getting twisted therein. If 
two are operating, one can stand at a little distance so as not to get 
the two strings twisted, and thus avoid the wire loops. 




FIGS. 164, 165, 166, 167. 



Banners are used sometimes for schools, sometimes for advertising 
and sometimes for just no particular purpose but the pleasure of doing 
it. A few banners are shown: Fig. 164 represents the Grand Ave- 
nue School, Fig. 165 the Hobart Boulevard School, Fig. 166, Vermont 


FIG. 168. 

Avenue, and Fig. 167, the Tenth Street School. Fig. 168 shows how 
the banners are attached. 

Wireless Telegraphy. The wireless has a great attraction for 
most boys. Some attach antennae to the kite, others drop a number 



of wires from the kite line, as in Fig. 169. A stick is suspended simi- 
lar to a banner, except that it requires only two suspension cords; 
another stick hangs by the wires about ten feet below, and below this 
the wires come together and a wire follows the kite line to the receiver 
and to the ground. Caution is here given against the use of a wire 
kite line. One boy tried this and when the kite lowered in a lull of 
the breeze the wire crossed the trolley line and in the mix-up the boy 
becam;e entangled in the line by at- 
tempting to get his kite up again, 
and received quite a shock; but 
there was no serious results. His 
instrument and attachments were 
working splendidly. The winding 
of the coil is a very good problem 
for any boy. 

Photography. Some boys are 
interested in photography, and the 
kite gives opportunity for taking 
bird's-eye views. The kodak must 
rest on a framework and the trip- 
ping line be so attached as not to 
cause the instrument to swing when 

* s^ ' 

the shutter is snapped. The trip- K ^ ,f 

ping can be accommodated by X 

means of the rear suspension cord, 
Fig. 170. The shutter should trip ,' 

very easily so as to cause as little ,' 

., , A FIG. 169. 

swinging as possible. An extension 

of the lever might be an advantage. The two sticks of the framework 
should be halved together so as to bring the upper surfaces level. A 
screw-eye placed in the cross-stick directly below the tripping lever holds 
the tripping string so that it draws on the camera in line with its own 
seating on the framework, and causes the minimum amount of swaying. 
Figs. 171 and 172 were taken on a kite line that was sent up from the 
Y. M. C. A. building. The speck of white shown on the roof near the 



ventilator is the operator. Figs. 173 and 174 were taken by a twelve 
year old boy and while not as high as the first is a very good start. 

Signaling. Signaling can be done by means of a red and white 
Hag, and the code used by the wig wag system, or one similar can be used. 


f ''' " 


u' r 




* ; 




FIG. 170. 

Fig. 175 shows the rod on which the two signals are used. Screw-eyes 
would be better than pulley wheels as there would be no slipping out 
of the grooves, and there would not be enough friction to be objec- 
tionable. The cord operating the two signals should be continuous, 
passing from the ground to one signal, thru the screw-eye above, then 
thru the other screw-eye to the second signal and from that back to 
the ground. The distance from the signal to the screw-eye should be 
convenient for manipulation by the operator, for while one flag is up 
the other is down, and this distance corresponds to the pull and re- 



laxation of the hands of the operator. The signals can be red and 
white flags, or a device like Fig. 176, in which a full surface of color 
would always be in view. Sometimes a flag flying directly toward 

FIG. 171. 

FIG. 172. 

or away from you is not a very large object to see. This last device 
is made of two good sized cardboard disks, each cut half way thru, 
Fig. 177, and set at right angles to each other. The red and white 

FIG. 173. 

FIG. 174. 

is placed there to help in location of the other signals, as to up and 
would read, red and light, that is r is red or right, while / is left or 
light. So the same code operates for both. The center black square 


down and right and left. The code given is one that we have used 
somewhat, but not many have mastered it as yet. It can be used for 
night signalling, as red and white or light, would read r and / too. 

We will illustrate with the letter b. The code reads L R R L. 
At night this would be flashed : light, then red, red again, then light. 
On the kite signal we would run up the light signal, then the red, 

FIG. 175. 

FIGS. 176, 177. 

red again, and then the light. Just so with the wigwag. The wig 
wag flag would be waved to left then two to the right then one to 
the left and back again to center. If we were spelling out BOY, 
a little pause would be made after B had been signalled, then left, 
right, or light, red would be signalled, and after a slight pause again, 
the three reds or three waves of the wig wag flag to the right. A 
little longer pause between words and then the next word would follow. 










































































Swings. A swing can be attached to the kite line by six suspension 
cords, Fig. 178. The boy in overalls is a pleasing figure, Fig. 179. 
The framework is of light kite sticks and the figure is cut out of 
light cardboard, but must be reinforced with light sticks across the 
body to prevent collapse. A stick across back of the arms and two 
down the legs from this will be sufficient. The sunbonnet baby is 
good, Fig. 180. The sunbonnet in white and the dress red with pink 
slippers is effective. 

The trapeze performer, Fig. 181, must be placed edgewise in the 
swing, and the lower stick must be made so it will revolve. The 
grooved pulley is stationary on the lower rod and should have a good 
sized grove so as to accommodate two or three turns of the operating 
line, which should run double to the ground. It is well to have such 
lines fastened to a stick so that the hand may hold in the center between 
the two, see Fig. 182. By a twist of the wrist the ends of the stick 
can be forced to and fro which turns the rod that the performer is 
on, forward or back. This will suggest other forms of trapeze per- 

Color devices and optical illusions could also be arranged. A color 
device like Fig. 183 would be an interesting study on the ground, 
and would be very interesting up a little way on the kite line. Each 
section, as a, is independent of the others, and the sections should 
alternate as to directions, the first going to the right, the next to 
the left and so on. It is as easy to make them go in one direction 
as the other. A vertical wire reaches from top to bottom of the frame- 





FIGS. 178, 179. 180. 181. 182. 183. 


work and beads should be placed between sections, and to the outside 
at the top and bottom. The colors of a are red, yellow, and blue, 
but white could take the place of some color, and black of another 
section. As the sections are not likely to turn with the same rapidity, 
there should be a constant change of combination of colors. 

Light forms that fill out with the breeze can be made of tissue 
paper and attached to the kite line. Ugly monsters with large mouths 
and highly colored bodies with heavy lines on them to outline scales 
are very striking. It is necessary to have these open at both ends or 
they will be torn open, also it is best to have a light framework about 
the head to keep that in shape; the rest of the body will usually be 
taken care of. Long serpents and fish are good for the purpose. If 
the grotesque does not appeal to one, long and short streamers can 
be used in abundance. A kite line decorated with pointed streamers 
of various colors would be very beautiful. Japanese lanterns might 
be festooned along the line, and to reduce the weight, the bottom could 
be removed. If kite flying is indulged in at night, fewer lanterns can 
be used, and these lighted. 



Balloons that really go up are always attractive but by thoughtful 
planning they can be made much more beautiful. A nice white balloon 
against a blue sky is very pleasing, but most boys like more color. The 
hot air balloons are made of tissue paper, and consist of an inverted 
bag with a light piece of reed at the bottom to keep the mouth open. 
The most successful shape is shown by Fig. 184. This need not be 
perfectly round on top, but may be pointed, as in Fig. 185. If the 
balloon is too nearly round like a ball, it is liable to turn over and 
allow the hot air to escape. If the balloon is too long and slender 
vertically, it would probably flounder around in the breeze too much. 
There is not the variety possible in balloons that there is in kites, 
as no ballast can be attached that is of much service. In some shapes 
only a very little is necessary to keep them in an upright position, in 
this case a little ballast will suffice, and a number of shapes can be 
made with this addition. The ballast should be suspended by strings 
from the reed at the bottom, see Fig. 186. The ballast may only be 
a piece of cardboard, but in some cases that little is very necessary. 

Some of the boys try models of the dirigible, but usually they get 
something too large for hot air manipulation. The dirigible is more 
of a cigar-shaped balloon. Strings run down to a framework that 
carries the propeller, which is a paper windmill in this case, but it is 
very difficult to keep these representative parts light enough to be 
carried by the hot air medium. 

In making a balloon like Fig. 184 the covering is made in tapering 
sections. The pattern given is for a five-foot balloon. The width at 
the lower end of the section is five inches, three feet farther up fifteen 
inches, and it comes to a point at the top. The edges of these sections 
form a long curve, Fig. 187. Five feet would require just a little 
over two lengths of tissue paper. There are seven sections in the 

Inflation. Two methods are used to fill the balloons. A wire is 
stretched across the frame of the mouth of the balloon and another at 




FIGS. 184, 185, 186. 

FIGS. 187, 188, 189, 190. 

FIGS. 191, 192. 

right angles to it. A ball of excelsior having been soaked in paraffin 
is attached at the crossing of the two. The ball should be flattened 
into a disc about two inches in diameter and one inch in thickness. 


Holding the balloon up by the top the paraffin disc is lighted with 
a parlor match. It burns and creates heat that collects in the upper 
part of the balloon. When it is filled so that it lifts a little and wants 
to get away it is released carrying up the heat generator with it. The 
paraffin ball continues to furnish hot air until it burns out. A balloon 
so equipped will travel several blocks, high up in the air. The 
paraffin ball is also wound about with a very fine wire which is also 
used to attach the ball to the wires across the opening of the balloon. 
It will be seen at once that a good sized opening is necessary and in 
this design, the reed band is ten inches in diameter. 

The other method of filling is by means of a stove pipe furnace 
or some similar device, but in this case all the heating is done on the 
ground. A hole is dug in the ground and the stovepipe is banked in 
as a chimney. A fire is built in the hole and the hot air goes up thru 
the pipe to the balloon that is suspended over it. If it was not for 
the stove pipe the blaze would ignite the walls of the balloon. Some 
quite large balloons have been sent up in this way. A piece of tin or 
sheet iron is good to make a cover for the hole in the ground so as 
to prevent the dirt from falling in on the fire. Some use a little oil 
on the fire, but there should not be too much else the blaze will reach 
up thru the pipe so far as to burn up the balloon. It is well to have 
a cord above so as to hold the balloon up and if it is too high to hold with 
the hand, a pole with a wire on the end of it that could be readily 
released might be used. As the bag gets inflated it is best to remove- 
the pole and hold to the bottom by the hands. 

In pasting the pieces of paper together, there should be about \" 
laps. Care must be observed in the pasting that there are no detached 
places, places where the paste does not stick well, as the hot air will 
escape. In the model given, one section was blue, two white, one 
red, and three white, making seven in all. Sometimes the colors are 
worked in differently. Half of a section will be one color, and the 
other half another, and next to each will be placed some contrasting 
color. Still further breaking up can be done until quite a design is 
worked out. 

It is possible to decorate a plain balloon with surface design, but 
it must be bold and not over done. An example or two may be help- 


fuJ, Figs. 188, 18Q, 190. Yellow and black, Mack and red, purple 
and white, green and white, and many other good combinations can 
be selected, but two or three colors are better than many. The best 
grade of tissue paper is very much superior to the cheap, as the tendency 
of the cheap to split out is very unsatisfactory and there are thin por- 
ous spots. The French tissues, so called, are the best, and they come 
in many shades of good colors. 

Parachutes are other forms of balloon. They do not ascend from 
the ground, but are released up in the air and float downward. Some- 
times a current of air will catch one and carry it far up and away. 
They are made like an umbrella covering, sometimes in sections and 
again in one piece, Fig. 191 and 192. When made in sections, they 
are very much like the upper one-third of a balloon. They are made 
from the size of your hand to beauties that are eight feet across; 
when made of brilliantly colored paper, they are very interesting. They 
have a weight suspended underneath to keep them upright in the de- 
scent. Parachutes are usually taken up on a kite line and are released 
well up in the air. The usual method of shaking them off the line 
is not as good as a definite release by a tripping string from the ground. 
If large ones are used, one at a time is sufficient and is simple to re- 
lease. The parachute is tied with a bow-knot to the kite line with 
the extra string and as this string is pulled the knot comes untied and 
the parachute is released. When smaller ones are used they can be 
tied in a series and the lowest down on the string or the highest can 
be released, then the next, and so on. The same string can be used 
to tie on a long series. 

No matter how small the parachute, it must have its suspension 
strings and weight. We have tried parachute show T ers that have only 
been a partial success, thus far. A bunch of these little parachutes 
each with its own string tied to the kite line, have been released, but 
in pulling them up they are so liable to get twisted up, that when 
released they cling together. If they could be carefully laid in some 
kind of an apron that would protect them from the breeze, I am sure 
they might be tumbled out so as to separate without entanglement. 
It is a very pretty sight to see a large bunch turned loose, each spread- 


ing its tiny night cap to the air as it starts downward. They should 
be of all colors, and for this purpose the one piece models and one 
foot in diameter are best. There is always a scramble for the souvenir 
parachutes when they arc released. If one had a rubber stamp outfit, 
it would be interesting to print something on their cover. Thread 
would be used for the suspension cords and perhaps a shingle nail for 
the weight. 

Another method of release given elsewhere is sometimes used by 
the Chinese and Japanese, is effected by using a lighted punk such as 
used to set off firecrackers; when the punk burns down far enough, it 
burns off a supporting thread, thus releasing the object held. 


Reels are very convenient for most kite flying and quite necessary 
for high flying where so much string must be let out and wound in 
again, but an absolute necessity for events where racing is an important 
feature. Many devices have been used at our tournaments and some 
have been very clever. A simple and effective reel can be rigged up in 
a kerosene box. The box is long enough to allow a seat for the kite 
flyer, a foot brake can be arranged, and an all around satisfactory reel 
can be made at light expense. Fig. 193 shows such a reel fully equipped. 
A portion of the top is cut away so as to expose the spool of the reel, 


FIG. 193. 
FIGS. 194, 195, 196. 

it being necessary to see if the line is winding properly, to see if it is 
nearly off, and to watch for knots or entanglements. A measuring 
device might also be attached, similar to cyclometers used on bicycles. 
The end of the box is partially cut away but not the full width of the 




box, the portions remaining at the sides preventing the kite line from 
getting off the ends of the spools. The portion remaining should be 
a little wider than the thickness of the flanges of the spool. The 
axle will usually be a broomstick owing to the ease with which it may 
be obtained and being hardwood, is very satisfactory. A piece of pipe 
can be used but is hard to drill thru for the pins that hold spool and 
crank to axle, also the holes that take pins on each side of box to prevent 
slipping endwise. Iron washers are used on the outside of box and 
between spool ends and inside of box. 

The crank is shown in the drawing and needs no special directions. 
The pin holding the crank to the axle might be a small bolt with a 
nut, which adds strength in the prevention of splitting of the end 
of the wood. A good spool for the reel might be found at a hard- 
ware store. Chains come on well made spools that are excellent for 
reels. These can be fastened to axle by slanting pins; nails will an- 
swer if they are not left out too far thru the outside of the flanges 
of the spool; also pins may be put down thru the drum part of the 
spool thru the axle. In this case small holes would have to 'be' drilled 
from opposite sides of the drum. 

Other drums can be made similar to Fig. 194. The axle is se- 
cured to two wooden disks and the center is built up of other pieces 
as in Fig. 195, or by wooden rods as in Fig. 196. 

A brake is a great convenience 
when letting out string, as the reel 
sometimes runs ahead of the kite 
and so entangles the string; by a 
little pressure of the foot on the 
brake, the unwinding ceases. The 
brake should act directly on the 
edge of the flange of the spool. The 
lever of the brake would pass thru 
the left side of the box, not more 

than two inches up from the hot- p IG 197 

torn, Fig. 197. In case the spool is 

too short for the width of the box, wooden blocks can be used to fill 
in the space, but the opening in the end of the box that the kite line 



Sipe. OF Box 



passes thru must be no wider than the distance between the flanges. 

Another axle that has been mentioned is made of pipe. The 
pipe can be one inch in diameter, and must be drilled for the pins 
that fasten the spool to it. A three-eighths or five-sixteenths hole can 
be drilled near the end of the pipe outside the box, in which an iron rod 
is riveted with its outer end bent at a right angle. The rod forms 
the crank of the reel. If one has access to a heavy metal vise, the 
axle and crank can be made of one piece, Fig. 198. If one wishes 
the reel to run very easily, a washer that fits the axle nicely can be 
fastened to the side of the box with two screws, Fig. 199. The hole 

in the wood should be a little 
larger than the hole in the wash- 
er, thus making the washer a 
FIG. 198. FIG. 199. bearing for the axle. I have one 

that turns very freely this way. The wires running down to pegs in the 
ground, shown in Fig. 193, are for the purpose of anchoring the reel 
when the pull of the kite is on. 

FIGS. 200, 201, 202. 


Thus far the box has been the real support, but other frames can 
be made as well, Fig. 200. The brake is applied at the rear on this reel, 
and is operated either by hand or foot. The heavy wires are for 
anchoring purposes, otherwise the construction may be the same as in 
Fig. 193. 

Another way of securing the metal axle to the wooden spool is 
as follows: Drill two holes thru the pipe just far enough apart to 
allow spool to fit between. The holes should be just large enough to 
allow a 16d or 20d nail to go thru. Cut off the heads of the nails, 
fit in holes with spool on axle, and with good sized staples fasten 
pins (nails) to sides of spools, see Fig. 201. For the crank, a f" 
hole can be drilled at the outer end of axle to receive a " rod bent 
at one end to form the handle. The end of the crank that passes thru 
the axle might be threaded about 1" so as to put a nut on each side, 
see Fig. 202. 

A Large Reel. The two general plans given above are for com- 
paratively small reels. Fig. 203 shows a reel that winds in over four 
feet at a turn. It has but one bearing, be- 
ing attached to the standard by a large bolt 
for an axle. It would be well to have a 
piece of pipe just large enough to allow the 
bolt to turn freely and just long enough to 
reach thru the wheel as a bushing, for this 
is much more like a wheel. The sides or 
flanges are- made of two ply wood, in one- 
half of the thickness the grain runs one way 
and the other half at right angles to it, so 
that it prevents warping and is not liable to FIG. 203. 

split. There is no real drum, but small 

wooden rods, or slim bolts, hold the sides together, also apart, and are set 
about two inches in from the outside circumference. In the drawing, the 
wheel being 18" in diameter, the bolts or rods are in a circle 14" in diam- 
eter. The bolts or rods should be about eight in number. If wood rods, 
doweling, are used, they would be glued at both ends and no other posts 
would be necessary, but with the bolts, posts will be needed to prevent the 



sides from coming together. Four posts will be sufficient. No crank 
is necessary on this reel as a handle can be fastened to the side of one 

FIG. 204. 

FIG. 205. 

of the large discs. A brake can be attached underneath as in the 
last reel. The axle must be made very rigid in the standard as it 
has to support all the pull of the reel. This is a first class reel for 
fast work. 

Discs can be obtained at some box factories for seven and ten cents 
apiece for sizes ISi" and 19-?,-" in diameter, respectively. They are 
made of two ply wood and make good reels. A good way to get the 
holes opposite is to clamp the two discs together and bore all the holes 
thru both at the same time. Others make reels very much like our 
grandmothers' yarn reels. Two arms are halved together and short 
cross-pieces are attached to the ends, Fig. 204. For speed they are made 
with long arms and take up a good length of string at a single turn. 

Another way of building up a reel is shown in Fig. 205. A square 
block has fans nailed or screwed to each side. The ends of the fans 
are shaped out to receive the kite line. The end of the square center 
piece can be rounded so as to pass thru a round hole of the framework^ 
or a hole can be bored thru the square piece and a pipe or rod inserted 
as w r ith the others. For heavy work where large string pulling kites 



are used, geared reels are practical. Fig. 206 shows a picture of a boy 
and his reel rigged up with a chain drive, utilizing parts of a bicycle. 
This was devised for speed, but it needs Manges at the ends of the 
drum. If one wished to put time enough on a reel, he could rig one 
up out of parts of a bicycle that could be manipulated by the feet. A 
coaster brake would let out the string and the winding in could be 
made as swift as any kite would stand. The wheel used for the drum 
portion would need quite a little modification to prevent the string 
from jumping off. As the usual frame would not admit of any widen- 
ing, some additional framework would also be necessary to make it 
stable enough. If one is going to do much kite flying, it pays to take 
time to make a good reel, not the last one described necessarily, as that is 
more for speed, and is not as convenient as a number of others, but a 
good simple reel is a great satisfaction. 

FIG. 206. 


Aeroplane Models are small sized aeroplanes. They may be 
divided into four classes : 

A. Small models of large machines, made for the purposes of 

B. Small models of large machines made for the purpose of flying 
as kites. 

C Gliders. 

D. Self-propelling models. 

It will be seen at a glance that this chapter should be expanded 
into a book by itself. Mr. Collins has written an excellent book, "The 
Second Book of Model Aeroplanes", on the subject, and I hope the 
readers of this book will look it up, as it will be worth while. In 
dealing with the subject in this chapter we can not go into it very 
deeply and not many plans can be given, but we will try to touch here 
and there some of the important features of construction. 

I have grouped the model aeroplanes into four divisions, but before 
we proceed it will be well to notice the various classes of large machines. 
There is the monoplane or one plane type; the biplane or two planes, 
one above the other; and the multiplanes in which several planes are 
used. The first two have survived, and form the very large percentage 
of all that are attempted these days. I should like to make clear that 
I do not recommend, even discourage, any attempt at gliders large 
enough to carry the maker, and the aeroplane in which a motor engine 
is to be placed. There is too much danger connected with them, and our 
lives and limbs are too precious a gift to be trifled with in such un- 
necessary ventures. The little models, however, are harmless and yet 
are very fascinating, even when there is no thought of their embodiment 
in a large machine. 

In group A, where the worker seeks to imitate a large machine in 
miniature, the joy of the undertaking lies in the processes involving 
very accurate work and nicety of finish. There is a fascination for 
young people in the making of things in miniature. The models made 




in group A are usually larger than in group D, as the pieces of the 
framework need a little more material to work to advantage, while in 
D, the parts must be kept light. Weight is not so much of an item in 
group A. 

FIG. 207. 

FIG. 208. 

The photograph of the Curtis model, Fig. 207, has a clock spring 
works in it, but it is of no service. This is a very fine piece of work 
and has been admired by many. Outside of the clock works the model 


is all handmade. Little turn buckles for tightening the guy wires were 
made, as well as the little metal attachments to which the ends of the 
guy wires are attached. The silk covering was stretched and oiled on 
the frame. 

An equally well made model is shown in Fig. 208. In this mono- 
plane all the curving of ribs and trussing of frame were very accurately 
done. It will be recognized that this is a very excellent piece of work 
and the outlines of the planes are very beautiful and well proportioned. 
The planes are supported at the outer ends by careful adjustment of 
wires above and below the wings. Notice the two little braces above 
the center of the framework to which the guy wires are attached. 
Turn-buckles are used on this model also. The horizontal and vertical 
planes to the rear of the model, but to the front in the picture, were 
ideas original with the maker, altho I have seen pictures similar to this 

Some make up these models in good shape for the purpose of using 
them as attractions in show windows. Merchants will sometimes give 
a rental for a good model. Very often when used as a display, an 
electric motor is installed in them so as to run the propellers. 

In group B, the models are made to fly as kites. It is possible to 
gain much knowledge about the motor driven models by patient study 
on the aeroplane kite. The kite flying side will not help so much as 
the gliding. When the aeroplane kite is well up, if the string is allowed 
considerable slack, the model will glide if well balanced and if the 
planes are tilted properly. Balance will be necessary both to right and 
left and fore and aft. It is very interesting to get such a model pulled 
well up in the air and have a release that will cut the kite line. The 
punk method is good, only that we would like to have better control 
of just the time for cutting loose. The punk has this advantage how- 
ever, that not knowing just when it will cut loose you are held in happy 
suspense, just as you wait for a bite on your fish line. 

Another simple releasing device can be used: hooks are placed on 
the kite at each point of attachment of the bridle, and on the end of 
each string of the bridle is tied a small ring, which is to be hooked on 
the hook of the kite. The hooks must bend back and downward and 



FIGS. 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215. 


must he stiff enough not to hcnd. ( >t romse the kite line will have to 
be kept quite taut until time for release, when, if the line is slackened 
suddenly, the rings drop off, thus releasing the kite line. If it glides 
well some interesting things will develop. There will be swoops and 
glides, and loop the loops and all sorts of gyrations before it reaches 
the ground. If one is going to make a model just to fly in the air 
without the maneuvering, but to look like an aeroplane in the air, it 
should have the bridle placed so as to cause the kite to stay as near the 
horizontal as possible. In order to do this, the upper loop of the bridle 
should be shortened or the lower one lengthened as on a tailless or 
any other kite. On the tailless kite one can shift the bridle so as to 
make the kite stay nearly over head, in fact I have had them pass the 
zenith and dive over to the other side, and that well up in the air. A 
propeller that is turned by the breeze will help considerably in giving it 
a realistic touch. Fig. 99 is very good for aeroplane kites. The side 
wings can be extended and modified, as in Fig. 209, or the cross-pieces 
can be bowed up, as in Fig. 210. The bridle should be attached only 
in two places. 

A biplane is shown Fig. 211, one with bowed cross-pieces in Fig. 
212, and one with bent up tips on the upper plane in Fig. 213. The 
folded paper glider made by the children soars excellently ; try an 
aeroplane kite on that plan, Fig. 214. Another modification of Fig. 
214 is the bird aeroplane kite, Fig. 215. In this a plane is placed about 
half way from front to back. The ends of the wings get their curve 
from the back stick, a piece of heavy reed, and the outline of the bird 
is also of reed. By drawing the shape on a board the reed can be bent 
to the shape. The reed should be wet and tacks should be driven at 
each side to keep the shape until dry. This kite, if well made, should 
glide for a very long distance. 

It would take too much space to go into details with each design, 
but the drawings I think will be sufficient for most readers who may be 
planning these models, especially where framework and finished kite 
are both given. 


In group C is to be found the most profitable source of study for 
the self-propelling model aeroplane. The glider has no motor and no 
propeller, but is made on the plan of the motored model in the con- 
struction and adjustments. The glider is usually made smaller at first, 
increasing the size to the actual model later. The glider is more useful 
for study, if it is made heavier in comparison with the motored model. 
The glider can be thrown by the hand as if it were a spear, Fig. 216, 
or it can be thrown by a rubber cord, Fig. 217, or by a springy stick, 
Fig. 218. 

FIG. 216. 

FIG. 217. 

All experiments except those intended for adverse conditions, should 
be made either indoors where there is no wind, or away from buildings 
far enough to be out of reach of the whirls that are always present near 
buildings. Heavy paper can be used for planes in some of the experi- 
menting, and even much may be learned by the use of paper models 
thruout the whole construction, but a little stiffening with small thin 
strips as reinforcement is better in most cases. 

For the model that is thrown like a spear from the hand, wood is 
used for all parts. The spine can be f"xf "x30", the fore plane \"y2\" 
in widest part x 8", and the rear plane ^"x44" in widest part x 20". 




Bevel off the under side of the front edge of both planes. Fasten the 
planes to the spine with rubber string, rubber bands will do, this will 
allow easy adjustment back and forth on the spine. There are many 
experiments that can be tried with this model. Move the foreplanc 
back, try; move back plane foreward, try; move foreplane foreward ; 
try, and so on. This model and all other models are just the opposite 

FIG. 218. 

FIG. 219. 

of teeter boards. If too much pressure comes at one end, up it goes, if 
too much at the other, up that end goes, while the same thing applied 
to the teeter, that end goes down. It then seems clear at the start that 
we must have balance fore and aft, as well as right and left, with the 
kite we must balance right and left, but if the up and down does not 
quite tally we can counteract by adjustment of the bridle, but on gliders 
and model aeroplanes, there are no bridles. The little ship must go 
"all by its lonely". 

Another adjustment is possible, and probably will be necessary, and 
that is tipping of the planes. By the use of little wedges, the front 


edges of the planes may be tilted up, and by trial \\ r can decide \\hat 
we think the best angle, which should not be great. Possibly .{" might 
be used under the front edge. It will pay to spend much time in ex- 
perimentation on these gliders, and it should be carried on until long 
graceful glides are accomplished. 

It will be discovered long before this, that in a very large percentage 
of cases the arrangement of planes is reversed in model aeroplanes and 
the large machines. The small planes are placed forward and are used 
largely as elevating surfaces. A few models have the large plane for- 
ward. It will also be noticed in looking over plans of model aeroplanes 
that a large majority are monoplanes, while in the large machines there 
are more biplanes. 

Warping. No warping of the planes is necessary in the glider that 
has been discussed, but it is well in the lighter models to have some 
warping called camber, in the larger planes especially. Another warp- 
ing is from end to end of the plane, that is, the ends tip upward, never 
downward. Sometimes models are made with the large plane warped 
from front to back, and with the small plane bent upward on each 
side, and again the large plane is sometimes bent in both directions as 
it is made. The last is more easily done when wire frameworks are 
used in the self-propelling models. In Fig. 217 the model is made 
lighter, the spine being a heavy piece of reed with a hook bent on the 
end and the planes -|" or -jV veneer wood. 

The sling shot device for throwing the glider is made of heavy 
spring wire, and will require a strong metal vice to bend it in. A 
forked stick can be used, or one can be cut out with a turning saw. 
Fig. 218 is quite similar to Fig. 217 in weight, but a square spine 
i"xf"x!8" with planes " or T y'x2"x6", 2" in widest part and the 
other \" or -^"x4"x\2", 4" in widest part. The force used to drive 
this glider is given thru a springy stick of some tough wood, as oak or 
hickory. The stick should be quite stiff so as to resist more pressure 
before its release. A little block on the undef side of the spine might 
have a little hole in the back to receive a small nail in the end of the 
bow stick used to throw the glider, this will prevent the bow stick from 
slipping off in the throwing process. 

GLIDERS 1 1 1 

One other glider should be mentioned, and that is one with sheet 
metal planes, Fig. 219. This has advantages and disadvantages. When 
it strikes hard against some object, the metal is liable to bend, also if 
it is thrown violently, and should strike someone on the face or hands 
it might cut. The metal surfaces can be bent into any shape. All 
corners should be rounded. Some of these gliders can be thrown long 
distances if properly adjusted. 

After working awhile with gliders, w r e can try model aeroplanes 
that are suited for the instalment of motors later. Everything must be 
made as light and strong as possible. All kinds of ribbed surfaces, keels, 
and light wire braced frameworks, are utilized. Everything that would 
be used in a self-propelling model, except the propeller and motor. 

Make the planes movable so they may be balanced as to pressure, by 
moving them back and forth, flex more, flex less, tilt more, tilt less, 
until you get a good glider out of it, then attach your motor and pro- 
peller. Some may think best to put motor and propeller on, and do all 
the experimenting, but it takes time to make a good propeller, and the 
fewer jams it has the better, so it is better to do some experimenting 
with the model before the propeller is added. The motor will make 
practically no difference in the balance, so there would be no advantage 
of putting it on for experiments in gliding. 

We are now ready for some attempts on the self-propelling models. 


Self-propelling air devices must be of the lightest possible weight 
and yet they must have strength. There will be no attempt to give a 
great variety of model aeroplanes; but a few can be discussed, perhaps 
three or four. The first is a little practice model that has been of great 
service to me, both for study and for instruction to others. It is small 
and will not fly far. I can wind it up and turn it loose in a schoolroom. 
It hits rather hard sometimes but nothing has happened to it beyond a 
broken propeller, and the rubber bands that are used to tie the planes 
to the spine have been broken. 

FIG. 220. 

In Fig. 220 the model is shown in two views, the plan and side 
elevation. The planes are made of -fa" birch veneer, but other woods, 
will do. The small fore plane is bent at quite a sharp angle and was 



shaped as shown in Fig. 221. Steam the plane thoroly over the tea- 
kettle and place it under pressure until dry and it will remain so bent. 
The plane is also tilted up a little by means of a small wedge. 

The spine is made of spruce and is 
"x"x!2". The large plane has about |" 
camber and is bent as shown in Fig. 222. 
Lay a strip as thick as the desired camber 
on a board that you can nail brads into. 
Steam the veneer for the plane and lay in 

FIGS. 221, 222. tne " str ^P ' m tms case about one-third the 

distance back from the front edge, bend 

down until the edge touches the board underneath the strip and drive 
brads in slanting so as to hold it down. The brads can be bent down a 
little after they are driven in. By using brads on both sides the veneer can 


f e c~~a. 

FIG. 223. 

be held down until dry. The outline can be cut away before or after the 
bending. The decoration of course is not essential, but it is interesting to 
beautify it a little. The anchor block for the propeller shaft is of wood 
|"xl"xl" and is glued and nailed with brads to the rear end of the 
spine. A piece of tin f " wide is bent about the top of the anchor block, /, 
Fig. 223. The hole in the wood should be larger than the propeller 

shaft while the hole in the tin should make a good 
fit. In this way the bearing is on the tin instead 
of the wood, and reduces the friction to a min- 
imum. After the tin is on, the block should be 
wound with linen thread and coated with glue 

or shellac. 
FIGS. 224, 225. The prope u er sna f t i s ma( ] e f rom a bicycle 

spoke, Fig. 223 ; two of these can be purchased for a nickel. The long nut, 




shown at b, is cut with a metal saw in two places, giving small nuts c and 
d; c is used on the inside and d on the outside of the propeller. The spoke 
is then cut off long enough to pass thru the propeller, a glass bead as a 
washer, and the anchor block, with room for a good hook on the end for 
the attachment of the rubber motor. The propeller will be discussed fur- 
ther in the next chapter ; the only thing to be mentioned here is the size of 
the blank from which it is made, which is ^"xl"x4". Another piece 
of the spoke is bent as in Fig. 224, and is inserted in the fore end of the 
spine and bent still further into shape like Fig. 225. This gives the 
other anchor hook for the rubber motor. One other piece is the small 
keel shown in the side view. A groove is made in the under side of 
the spine and the keel set in with glue. 

I am using four rounds of -jV' 
rubber string for the motor. That 
makes eight strands. Six do very 
well. This is a very useful little 
model but it will not fly over fifty 
feet, or mine has not, but the fact 
that it does not fly far, gives you 
opportunity to study its start, its 
landing, and its flight. The long 
distance models are out of observa- 
tion range so soon that we miss 
the chance to diagnose their crazy 
symptoms, if they have any, and 
most of them have some. 

At the beginning of model 

aeroplane making, everyone seemed to try to see how much surface could 
be exposed in the planes, now the best models are those with as narrow 
planes as it is possible to use and still support the air craft. The reason is 
obvious there is so much skin friction on broad surfaces. At the begin- 
ning, many were inclined to scoff at the rubber band motor, but since 
flights have been made considerably over a half mile, with this same 
power, it seems good enough for anybody. Most of the long distance fly- 
ers have long framework so as to accommodate long strands of rubber, 
which allow much increase in the winding up of the motor. 

FIG. 226. 



A Good Model. A simple and effective model is shown in Fig. 
226. Lay out a light framework, as shown in Fig. 227. It is the 
combination of a tailless kite and a triangular box-kite. Three long 

FIGS. 227, 228. 

sticks, a, b, c, are used for the triangular portion and three cross-sticks, 
d, e, f, are for the wing supports. A vertical post, g, about ^"xf "x8" 
is used in the center of the rear (the wide part), to stiffen the frame and 
give an anchorage for the propeller shaft. Four light braces, h, i, j, and 
k, make it possible to use lighter material than one would suspect for 
the entire framework. In a model 3' long, a, b, and c, need not be 
larger than T V square, but there must be no split or uneven places in 
a stick so small. The braces ^"x T V' would be plenty large. The two 
upper pieces, b, c, should be flattened on the inside of the front end 
so as to make them join together, terminating in a point. The lower 
spine, a, should be flattened on the upper side for the same reason. All 
three should be glued and lashed together with linen thread. A tri- 
angular block, /, should be placed about 4" back from the front end 
with a strong cup-hook screwed in the side toward the rear, on which 
the ring of the rubber motor is attached. The block, /, must be well 
secured to the triangular framework with glue and thread. The cross- 
piece, d, is 30" long and is bowed upward as is shown by Fig. 228. 
Piece e is 24" long, 5" in front of d, and both are ^"x^". tf'x-fa" 
will be heavy enough for /, and this should be bowed much more than 
d, and e. It will be necessary to steam this piece a little. Chinese rice 



tissue will be good for covering. Cover the underside of the two planes, 
and the underside of the triangular framework which is similar to the 
hull of a boat, and acts as a keel. Test out well as a glider. Put more 

^-NWv^ NSNX ^ xsv 


FIG. 229. 

and less curve to bows, and experiment for poise of model. A small 
piece of tin on each side of the support will give a good bearing for the 
propeller shaft. The hole in the wood should be a trifle larger than 

the shaft. String is run from both 
ends of d and e to the front end of 
the framework but is not attached 

When long models are made 
with single spine, they need some 
simple wire supports to prevent 
springing up or down, and from 
left to right. Fig. 229 is 4' long 
and the spine is only $"\' at tne 
small end i"xf " at the larger end. 
A little -fa" oak veneer cut in 
strips T V' wide would be very 
serviceable for the purpose of sup- 
port in trussing the long spine. It 
should stand 2" above and below 

FIGS. 230, 231, 232. the spine, and the same amount for 

the right and left brace, Fig. 230. The wires for these should extend 
about a foot on each side of these posts, and be attached to the spine 
with little tin anchors, as shown in Fig. 230, a. 



The propeller shaft bearing is of metal and is lashed to the cross- 
piece, called the base, Fig. 231. It is not necessary to have two points 
of bearing for the shaft. The metal is about T y'xi"xl", bent as in 



FIG. 233. 

Fig. 232, and lashed to the under side of the base. The planes are 
similar to those in the next model. I"xl^"x7^" propeller blanks are 
used. Try about fourteen strands of T V string rubber for each motor, 
seven rounds. 

My favorite model aero- 
plane is shown in Fig. 233. It 
had made some very pretty flights 
when it took a notion to glide into 
a young man's bicycle as he was 
riding by. Well, there was no im- 
provement on the aeroplane when 
the chain and spokes of the bicycle 
were thru with it. 

The framework is light and is 
spread well at the rear. The two 
spines are T y'x^"x33" and they 
come together at the forward end, 

FIGS. 234, 235, 236, 237. 



fold, on 

FIG. 238. 

the vertical section being " ' . Nine 
inches back from the front end is a 
cross-piece that is just under " in 
thickness, y wide and 2\" long. 
The cross-piece is on the upper side 
of the spines, and is fastened by a 
small \" brad, is lashed with 
thread and coated with glue or 
shellac. The other cross-piece is 1" 
forward from the rear end, is of 
the same dimensions in cross-section 
as the forward piece, but is 8" long 
and is secured in the same manner as the other, see Fig. 234. The 
framework is further stiffened by two fine wires that run diagonally 
from the ends of one cross-piece to the ends of the other. They are 
secured to the inside vertical face of the spines by means of small 
pieces of tin that have two small 
holes, one at each end, the one 
receives a \" brad that is driven 
into the spine, while the wire is 
attached to the other hole. The 
little pieces of tin are about -fV'x-i" 
and are lashed to the spine in ad- 
dition to the fastening by the small 
brad. This kind of fastening pre- 
vents slipping, also the cutting in- 
to the wood, either of which would 
destroy the efficiency of the wire. In 
order to increase the tension of 
the wire, a small turn-buckle is in- 
serted, Fig. 235. 

The bearings for the propeller 
shafts are lashed to the outside face 
of the rear end of each spine, Fig. 236. The bearing is a piece of brass 
3y /x i"xl" ') and is bent to a right angle at the middle. A small hole 



is drilled for a brad into the side of the spine and the other hole is 
drilled to receive the propeller shaft, which is T V' steel wire. The 
shaft is bent into a hook after it passes thru the bearing. To prevent 
the rubber of the motor from touching the steel wire, which is 
injurious to the rubber, a small rubber hose is slipped over the 
hook. In this model, the propellers are pieces of veneer steamed and 
pressed into the spiral shape. The propeller shaft then is bent around 
the center of the propeller, has two little washers between this and the 
bearing, after which comes the covered hook, see Fig. 237. A piece of tin 
\" wide and \\" long is folded about the propeller before the shaft is bent 
around. The shaft is soldered to the tin, the tin being secured by two 
small brads and shellac. A small tin rudder with a small fold in its 

FIG. 242. 

upper portion may be slipped over the back cross-piece, Fig. 238. The 
fore plane is made of very thin spruce, shaped like Fig. 239, and is bent 
up almost like a butterfly's wings, Fig. 240. The wood is less than 
T V" thick. A double hook as anchors for the double motors, is bent 
and secured about the fore end of the framework. The hooks are 
covered with the rubber hose, the same as the propeller shaft, Fig. 241. 
The large plane is 44" in the widest place and is 20" long. It is the 
shape of Fig. 242 in outline, the straight side being to the rear. The 
outline of the plane is a steel or brass spring wire T y diameter and is 


spliced at the center of the long sides, being soldered at this point. The 
ends of the wire lap over an inch or more. There are but two ribs 
which are 5" from the outer ends. The ribs have a slight curve up- 
ward, most of it being near the free edge of the plane, Fig. 243. The 
e-nds of the ribs are bent at a right angle and are soldered to the outside 
framework of wire. The cover of the plane is made of prepared silk 
and is made -]-" larger all around than the size of the outline of the wire 
frame. A 4/' hem is then turned which gives strength to the edge. The 
cover is now over cast with needle and thread to the framework, stretch- 
ing fairly tight. 

The framework of the large plane is 
not secured directly to the wooden frame- 
work of the model, but is soldered to wire 
loops that in turn lie flat on top of the 

a -- rt ~ spines of the frame, Fig. 242, a, a. This 

b-b-fvome. . . .... 

gives opportunity to tie with string so as to 

try out the model. If it is too far forward, 

it can be slipped back and vice versa; when the correct position is 
located, it is permanently wired to the wooden framework. The fore 
plane is attached by means of rubber string. This is known as the Mann 
monoplane, and is a commercial product. 

The propellers will be further discussed in the next chapter. 




There are four kinds of pro- 
pellers : 

1. Propellers carved out of 
solid and laminated blocks. 

2. Metal propellers with curv- 
ed or twisted surfaces. 

3. Built up propellers. In this 
type a small block is used as a hub, 
and the wood or metal fans are 
projected out from this. The fans 
are attached on the diagonal. 

4. Propellers made of pressed 
wood veneer. These are excellent, 
but require more skill and more 
apparatus to make. 

The carved out propeller is the 
one most generally used and is not 
only a good exercise in modeling 
with a knife, but is a good service- 
able kind. There are a number of 
types of propellers, named mostly 
by men who have designed them. 
For simplicity in laying out and 
carving, I like the Langley type. A 
rectangle is made of wood, say 
f"xU"x6", Fig. 244. Draw the 
diagonals, as in Fig. 245. With a 
radius of -j", and center at the in- 
tersection of the diagonals, draw a 
half-inch circle. Connect the diag- FlGS - 244 ' 251 ' 

onal lines and the circumference of the circle, as in Fig. 246, and cut 
down to the outline as it now appears. The blank is now as shown in 




Fig. 247. We will now take off two big slices, not all in one cut, but in 
several. Fig. 248 has the dotted lines showing the depth to be cut, and 
Fig. 249 shows these same parts cut away. Now cut away x and x until 
the blade is curved back to edges z and z. The cut away portions will 
be as in Fig." 250. Cut the opposite side the same way, and cut away 
the back corners a little, giving the result as shown in Fig. 251. Sand- 
paper well and shellac. Drill hole carefully for the propeller shaft. 

FIG. 252. 

FIG. 253. 

FIG. 254. 

The principal objection to the metal propeller is the bending that 
is liable to occur when the model lights, unless there are lighting devices 
underneath, and they all add weight. The hub propellers may have 
metal or hardwood veneers for fans. The hub may be round or square ; 
see Figs. 252 and 253. Very good propellers may be made in this way. 
Extra curvature of the outer ends of the fans is possible, Fig. 254. 

The veneer propeller must be steamed and pressed. This is by 
far the most difficult to make. The -j^" hardwood veneer is the best. 
The propeller is not reoinforced to make up for the extra thickness of 
the carved propeller, but is of uniform thickness thruout. The veneer 
is first cut to shape in outline and then is steamed and twisted to shape. 
Fig. 255 shows a pattern for a propeller blade. The veneer should be 
steamed or soaked in hot water until the wood is very pliable and soft. 
A form should be ready so as to get both wings with equal twist from 
the central portion. I will suggest one, others can be devised. A clamp 
is necessary for the center, which may be made as follows: take a 
one-inch piece of wood about 1 : ]-" wide and any length. Set it up 



edgewise. Make a cut -$" deep and one inch long across the upper 
edge, Fig. 256, and screw a small piece over top as a clamp. After 
thoroly steaming the propeller blade until it is very pliable, insert it 
into the clamp at the center and twist from the straight side, one fan 
up, the other down. It is not easy to get the two sides just alike, so 
I recommend the bending of one side at a time, and when that is dry, 

FIGS. 255, 256, 257, 258. 

remove, and reverse the ends, being sure to keep the straight edge to 
the front, or the same as before. To be accurate, there must be a guide 
block to bend to. For a nine-inch propeller, a block like Fig. 257 
would be about right. Place guide in position, press blank down to 
the oblique surface and secure there until dry. Repeat for the other 

end. It will be seen that the guide 
block and clamp are both secured 
to a board for a base; they may be 
secured to a table or bench-top. A 
clamp might be devised also that 
would hold the propeller in a verti- 
cal position with guide blocks on 
either side of center so as to bend 
and secure both ends at the same time. 

Another way to bend propellers is to clamp the center of the 
blank in a vertical position, and with two clamps made by sawing into 

FIG. 259. 



the ends of two pieces of \\ond, Fig. 258, a cut \\nlc enough to take 
the thickness of the blank, and deep enough for the \vidth, bend one 
blade forward and the other back, Kig. 259. The small clamps on 
the propeller blades should be placed at equal distances from the center, 
and should be given an equal amount of twist. The small clamps on 
the blades will not be forced over until they touch the base, so blocks 
of equal size should be used as stops in the operation of twisting. The 
clamps should be secured in the last position by means of cord to the 
base until the propeller is dry. 

FIG. 260. 

FIG. 261. 

Still another way to attain the twist in veneer propellers, would be 
to have two blocks gouged out to the proper shape, one just fitting in 
the other. After the propeller is shaped in outline and steamed, it is 
placed between the two blocks, which are in turn clamped firmly to- 
gether until propeller is dry. 

Motors. Quite a number of devices have been tried, but the 
rubber string is by far the most efficient power yet discovered. Rubber 
has a great deal more power than an equal weight of steel in all ways 
that steel has been tried. The power of the rubber motor is dependent 
on the unwinding of the strands of rubber after having been wound up. 
The longer this unwinding may be delayed the further the little air 


craft may be propelled, providing there is force enough expended at 
any time to give the necessary momentum to the propeller. A long 
motor has more revolutions than a short one. Hence some advocate 
a long spined frame to the model aeroplane. Others prefer to cut the 
frame a little shorter and give great pitch to the propeller which de- 
mands more energy at a given time, hence heavier strands, or more 
strands of the smaller rubber string. With the greater pitch propellers, 
the model is propelled faster and so may cover as great or greater 
distance than one with a motor that gives more revolutions in unwind- 
ing, but it is possible to revolve so fast as not to propel at all. Many 
use the T y square rubber string, others the |" while many use ribbon 
rubber, say -fa" to T y thick by T y, -J-", and T y wide. For small 
models, rubber bands can be looped together. 

Gears. Small, light weight gears can be made or bought. They 
are attached to propeller shafts and are geared back different pitches. 
Some one to two, others one to three, while some gears are one to one. 
It might seem that one to one is added friction and no gain in winding, 
but a hook is attached to each gear wheel which allows two rubber 
motors instead of one, and allows longer unwinding. If the rubber 
strands are divided they wind up many more turns than when combined 
in one bunch. If eight strands are twisted together you cannot turn 
as many times as with four strands. Fig. 260 shows a one to one gear 
and its connections, and Fig. 261 a gear with a greater ratio. 

A gear of one to one might be placed at 
the opposite end of the framework from the 
propeller, thus extending the number of 
revolutions in that manner, the second rope 
or motor extending back and below the 
first, Fig. 262 

Winding Devices. It is tiresome to 
wind up the rubber motors by hand, so 
mechanical winding devices have been FlG 2 62. 

made. A drill with a hook in the place of 

a drill-bit is quite satisfactory. It is best to have a ring on the rubber 
motor where it is attached to the anchoring hook. This ring can be 
hooked on the hook of the drill. This winds but one at a time, so they 


should be changed about in the winding process, first on one and then 
on the other back and forth, until tight enough. A very good winder 
can be made of a revolving egg-beater. The egg-beating part is cut off, 
leaving two shafts instead of one. If there is a hook on each, both 
motors can be wound at once and as they should be wound in opposite 
directions, the device works all right. 


All of the work of construction and flying of kites is interesting and 
profitable for development yet there is opportunity for furthering this 
interest by bringing about yearly tournaments for the exhibition of 
the many efforts in construction and design that are undertaken. The 
tournaments have a further usefulness in the bringing of our schools 
together in a great outdoor social event. The spirit of such an event 
is excellent and the day is a joyful one to the children and parents. 
Thousands attend these yearly gatherings. 

The Director. It is necessary for a good tournament that some 
interested and competent person take general charge of the whole 
affair and not leave the planning and arranging to others. Helpers 
are necessary at the tournament, but preparation should be directed by 
some one person. In so doing, we do not overlook the helpful coopera- 
tion of the principals at the various schools, but seek to interest them 
as to possibilities of undertakings by their children. Instructions should 
be sent out from time to time as to new things to be constructed and 
three or four weeks before the tournament, quite complete instructions 
regarding the different events that may be entered, and rules pertaining 
to each should be posted in each school. 

It is well to organize a little in the schools that are interested. 
Some boy may be recognized as a leader and a good kite maker. He 
can round up the team, get the boys interested and encourage them to 
enter events not yet taken so as to cover as many events as possible and 
fewer in the same. The preparation for the tournament gives a great 
opportunity to the teachers and principals to get in touch with boys. 
Many boys have come to know their teachers with just such an intro- 
duction, and it has been the means of starting a good many boys to 
work in the schoolrooms on their studies. Some boys seem to get out 
of gear with their schoolroom environment and need a little touch of 
play, a tramp, or some form of sport to get them back to their real 
school life. This kind of undertaking is one of the great opportunities 
for the teacher to get near to the boys. Some teachers are enthusiastic 
enough to send out for a good sized bundle of sticks and have some 
one retail them out to the boys at cost. The boys appreciate a little 



effort of this kind even if there is no prospect of a tournament. A 
discussion of design in the drawing work will also be a practical de- 
parture from the regular work, and will again arouse the lazy boy to 
do his best. Now if the teacher will take some interest in the making, 
even if she doesn't know very much about it, and especially in the flying 
of the kites, she will be progressing, and there are but few teachers 
who cannot learn a good deal about kite making and flying, if they are 
willing to try. 

The manual training teacher and the shop are very able assistants 
to the kite construction projects. In some schools, a week some time 
previous to the tournament is allowed for the special construction of 
kites in the shop. The boys will waste valuable lumber if allowed to 
rip up thin boards, so it will pay to encourage the buying of spruce 
sticks. There is much adjustment in attaching string and covering, 
and putting on of the bridle ; as much as possible of this should be 
reserved for home work, but some might be done at school. 

Suitable Location. But the work at the school is not a tourna- 
ment altho an important factor of it. The director, we will call the 
manager of the tournament, must find a suitable location. It must be 
open to the breeze, free from wires, accessible by street car service, a 
little to one side so people will have to go a little out of their way to 
see it, hoodlums don't usually care so much for beautiful things, 
especially if it is some trouble to go to it, and it should be large enough 
to accommodate a great many kites without getting into too close 
quarters. Kites are liable to dive around somewhat, so if they are not 
too thick, there is more chance to get the kite straightened up before 
getting entangled in other kite lines. Now that there are so many kinds 
of kites, it is necessary to locate the kinds on the field. The kites are 
divided into groups when the list of events is sent out, and these groups 
are placed in different locations on the field. We will suppose the 
following group is to be located. 

Group D. 

Measured Events. 

27. Highest Flyer Single. 

28. Highest Flyer Tandem. 

29. Highest flight in five minutes, etc. 




On the ground, separated from the others, would be a bulletin board 
that is fastened to a post and this is set in the ground. The post is 
about nine feet long, and the bulletin board is nailed to it, the lower 
edge being about one foot down on the post. If the post is set eighteen 
inches in the ground there would be six and a half feet up to the lower 
edge of bulletin. The announcements can be printed with chalk. They 
stand out and can be read across the field, see Fig. 263. The tournament 
is always on a Saturday afternoon, so the bulletins are set Saturday 

If there is no space fenced off for aeroplane 
model flying, and for the races, a few posts should 
be set and two wires about No. 9 run around an 
enclosure. Make it an enclosure, for if you don't it 
will be impossible to keep the spectators back. We 
tried a V-shaped fence, but it was useless; with an 
enclosure and two or three policemen about, it is 
possible to keep the crowd out. 

Judges. Settle on your judges at least two 
weeks ahead of the tournament. It will assist in 
arousing interest in the schools with which they are 
connected. Principals and manual training teachers 
should be available and serviceable. It is not nec- 
sary to be a kite maker to be able to judge a kite. 
About three judges to a group is good, then if one fails to appear you 
still have two. Try to start at the appointed time and urge your judges 
to be there on time. Caution the pupils about putting their kites up 
before the time, as they are so liable to accident if played with before- 

Save a place of honor for your superintendents. They may be asked 
to award prize badges, or to select the prettiest kite in the air, and the 
most ingenious device, the best made model or the best invention ; not 
all of these but something of this kind. Don't forget to use them in 
some place. Get the promise of two, three, or four policemen, a few 
days ahead. The presence of a few good officers helps in curbing desires 
for destruction among a few. Kites are liable to accident, so if you 

FIG. 263. 


can have a kite hospital \vhere the boys can get a little paper and paste, 
string or stick, it will sometimes heal quite a disappointment. 

An information bureau is a good feature. Have a bulletin showing 
its location. The judges as well as the children and parents would be 
glad of some help of this kind. Official badges are given to the judges, 
director, superintendents of schools, information and badges, and helpers. 
The badges are given out to the officers at the information bureau. A 
small stand at some prominent location in the field would be of service for 
the giving of the prize badges to the winning contestants. Each winner 
receives a slip, Fig. 264, from one of the judges of his group, giving his 
name, school, the first or second pri/.e and event, the judge keeping a 

Los Angeles City Schools 


5Br it knmtm that .& rUvJ&&J- $1 ^6OX^ 
of 6> 'JAJWunCU QM\J School, won xL prize, for 

QujvJJLu / )Ku^ &UJL&J 
at the 6 annual Kite Tournament and this Diploma is 
awarded in recognition of his skill so exhibited. 

9n. A. &&4/d_ 

1 o "th T-\- i i 

IZ - District e&OA^uJ ' J&uuLiiJ 

.. ttl \ih-rt < ST>"-" ^ 

Date '2&SM 30,1912. WA **& 


FIG. 266. 

duplicate record on a mimeographed sheet that is mounted on a piece 
of cardboard, Fig. 265. The pupil takes the slip to the awarding stand 
and hands it to the judges. The judges turn in their records, and the 
director fills out a small diploma of recognition, Fig. 266, and sends it 
to the school from which the boy has entered. It may be a girl; we 











, School 




, School 











FIG. 264. 



a. Strong puller (over 3 1 2 ft.) 

Glen Mollohan first prize Magnolia Are. school 34 Ibs. 

Richard Hillman. .second prize Vermont Ave. school 28 Ibs. 

b. Strong puller (under 3/4 ft.) 

Elmer Ban first prize Vermont Ave school 

Corwin Stephens . .second prize 9th St school 

c. Yacht race 

Archie Zimmerman. . first prize Breed school 

second prize school 

d. Quarter mile dash 

Nat Stockwell first prize Union Ave school 

Elgin McNarry. . . .second prize McKinley Ave school 

e. Parachute display 

Jessie Frampton first prize Union Ave school 

second prize school 

f. Kite antics 

Jas. Bruce . .first prize Vermont Ave school 

second prize school 

g. High flyer 

Loren Eads first prize 37th St .school 

James Fish second prize Loreta school 

W. F. Hughes 
Helen E. Hunt 

J. W. Hamer 


FIG. 265. 



have had a number of winners among the girls. These slips and record 
sheets for the judges will he some of the work for the director before 
the tournament. Each pupil who wins in any event receives an ap- 
propriate badge, Fig. 267. 

If it is convenient, it is always well to 
have two transits give the actual heights of 
high flyers. Some simple ones might be 
made, but there are often students who 
would like the opportunity to do some work 
of the kind for practice. It is well to send 
out a printed list of the winners to all the 
schools after the tournament. It might be 
written as follows 

25. Highest Flyer Tandem. 

First. Albert Johnson, 24 St. 


Second. Victor Wagoner, Wash- 
ington St. School. 

In sending out notices before and after, 
request the principals to place them in a 
conspicuous place for the boys to see. The 
principal's office is not a good place, for 
some will not go to the office to study them, 
these boys may be just as interested but they 
don't care to have us know it. If the 
material is where the boys can see it easily 
they sometimes get interested unawares to 
themselves. All plans should be placed in 
an open place, FIG. 267. 


The newspapers are glad to publish notices and pictures, and some 
will even print plans of work free. They are very persistent in getting 
reports of the tournament, so the judges should be careful in recording 
each event. The reporters will be on the ground if they have knowledge 
of its whereabouts. 

Ice cream and sandwich wagons are liable to get in the way, so it 
is best to restrict them to the margin of the cro\vd. They should not 
be allowed to come inside any of the locations for the events. 

All string that is to be used in races of any kind should be measured 
beforehand. It is best for the director to take charge of the string until 
time for the event, or until he can turn it over to the judges in charge 
of that group. Boys are liable to make a mistake in getting their string 
too short, so it must be measured. I place a couple of nails one hundred 
feet apart in the rail of the board fence, the boys wind about that 
until they have the required length, and by counting the string I can soon 
see if it is correct. If the string is given back to the boy, there is a 
temptation to take out some. There is no disadvantage in letting out 
the string from a stick in the races, if there is a reel to attach it to when 
it comes to the winding in. 

Announcements should be sent out a week ahead of the tournament 
that the string will be measured such and such afternoons, perhaps two 
days before the tournament. It is not best to leave it until just the 
day before, as the director should be as free as possible from such work 
at such time in order to give full attention to rounding up of details 
that are sure to accumulate toward the last of the preparations. 

Quarter Mile Dash. The race consists of the letting out and 
winding in of a kite on one quarter mile of string. The boys set their 
reels ready for the best speed and they group themselves quite close 
together, but far enough apart to prevent mix-ups, and at the proper 
time are handed their string that has been measured and labeled which 
they attach to kite. Each boy in the race is allowed one helper and the 
kite may be held by the helper a hundred feet away, ready to toss it in 



the air at the sign for starting. When all is ready, the one in charge of 
the group calls "ready! go!" The kites are tossed up and are given the 
string as fast as it will be taken. The boy with a steady head will 
sometimes stop playing out and work his kite up a little to get more 
breeze. If there is plenty of breeze, they are fed all the string as fast 
as it is pulled out. If a kite drops it may be worked up again, but it 
must go to the end of the quarter mile and back. A time keeper is 
placed by each contestant, and officers are needed to keep back the on- 
lookers. As soon as all the string is out the boy slips the loop on the 
end of his string over a hook on the reel and winds in as fast as he 
can turn. The kite mounts up in the air and is pulled with great 
violence toward the reel. If a string breaks, the time keeper stops 
the winding until the kite is again attached. No allowance is made for 
mishaps. The kite that is jerked down into the reel first is winner, and 
the owner is usually a pretty warm boy. The helper can take turns in 

Other races should be similarly conducted. We have had races in 
the construction of a tailless kite, including the lashing and stringing of 
framework and covering, attaching of bridle and the kite must fly. In 
all pulling contests, spring scales are used. In the light weights, the 
twenty-five pound scales are best, but the fifty pound is more serviceable 
for all around purposes. For very heavy pulling, large ice scales might 
be borrowed for the day from some hardware man. 

To measure the pull of a kite, the string is looped about the hook 
of the spring and the record made. Several records are made of each 
kite over a period of about thirty minutes or so. The judges going to 
and fro measuring this one and that. The kite should be ascending to 
get the best register. It is well in trial events to set the number of times 
that each aeroplane may be tried or tests of pulling permitted, as some 
will tease for a continual performance. 

The art supervisors and teachers are good as judges for the artistic 
events. All kites are in the air most of the time, so a general survey 
is made of the whole field. It is well to have about five judges on this 
group. Less will do the work all right, but it is well to draw many 
into the service. 


If the director could be on horseback so as to be easily seen, and 
also be able to get about easily, it would help out considerably. Mes- 
sengers from judges to director or information would be useful. 

Badges. For badges, we use a celluloid button, with our own cut, 
the ribbon attached has printing in black. The officers get yellow, the 
first prize, blue, the second, red. Some years we have used different 
colored buttons, this year the buttons were all yellow, the ribbons, 
yellow, red, and blue. 

See the street car officials in order that they may plan accommoda- 
tions for the day. Instructions are posted for the car men by the officials, 
that consideration be given to the boys with their kites and in most cases 
the men have been very helpful in this respect. Of course large kites 
cannot be taken on the street car. A great many are taken to the 
field in automobiles. 

Just before the tournament it is rather difficult to locate the boys 
making their kites, as they work in secluded places, but if you know of 
some that are making progress, a photograph by the newspaper men will 
add considerable zest to the advertising side of preparations. 

Get your school officials enthusiastic first, and get their cooperation 
in encouraging the undertaking, for it is a great school social gathering 
and should be made worth while. Then boost for it. Demonstrate by 
making or flying a kite, and the boys will take care of the rest. 



Los Angeles City Schools 

New Year's Greeting to the 

Kite Makers of Los Angeles : 

The Sixth Annual Kite Tournament will be held April 20, 1912, 
at Exposition Park. The spring vacation will be a good time to design, 
construct, and try out new ideas. The model aeroplanes will have a 
much larger place than heretofore at the coming tournament. A number 


of good plans of kites and model aeroplanes will be sent out during the 
coming season. 

Spruce sticks can be obtained again this year at 1335 E. 6th St. at 
the Southern California Box Co., in 25c bundles or more. 

The Goodyear Rubber Co., No. 324 S. Broadway is carrying string 
rubber and will have one sixteenth and one eighth inch, very good sizes. 
Models propelled by rubber bands should be from 20" to 30" across. 
Do not make the planes too wide, much of the failure of models is due 
to this mistake. 

Two firms in the east are advertising small gasoline motors for 
model aeroplanes. Models to carry these motors should be from 6' to 
8' or more. Models so equipped are operated by cords running to the 
ground. One boy claims to have succeeded with a storage battery under 
his arm and an Ajax motor in his model. If we get our model well 
under control we should be able to carry the storage battery on a wheel 
as suggested two years ago. No one has reported a success with the 
clockspring device. A long coiled steel wire spring has more promising 

Look for advertisements in "Popular Mechanics" and other maga- 
zines, for firms carrying parts such as gears, rubber motors, etc. There 
will be a few events for commercially manufactured models, but these 
are not to compete with home made. 

The usual kite events will be about the same as during the past two 
years. The quarter mile dash with the use of reels will be used; also 
an eighth mile dash will be listed this year in which the string is to be 
wound in by hand. 

The "Scientific American" of October 14, 1911, has an article on 
"How to make a Model Aeroplane that will fly 700 feet". Look it 


Ask at the libraries for Mr. Collin's books on "Model Aeroplanes". 
There is a second book out by this author that seems very good. 

Look out for ideas in the daily newspapers and at the Dominguez 


Principals please post. 





April 12, 1912. 

Sixth Annual Kite Tournament at 
Exposition Park, April 20, 1912. 

TIME: No kites are to be put up before one o'clock, and judging 
is to begin at 2 p. m. 

CARS : Georgia St., University, Grand Ave. to Figueroa Junction, 
Vermont Heights or Inglewood on Main to Figueroa Junction. 

PLACES : Bulletin boards will be used as usual see information, 
if you can't get located. 

RAIN:- If the afternoon is stormy, the tournament will be post- 
poned two weeks. 

GIRLS : All events are open to the girls. 

ADMISSION: No admission fee, and friends invited. 

ARTISTIC EVENT: All kites will be judged for artistic effect 
no matter where located must fly. 

BALLOONS: Boys must bring their own balloon equipment. 

STICKS FOR FRAMES: Any wood, except the hardwoods, 
may be used for frames, but spruce is best. 

mediate boys are eligible and all high school boys who have been in a 
grade school since last tournament, may enter from such school. Look 
up some of your kite makers. 

KITES : All should be encouraged to make and fly a kite, even 
if not for a prize. Make it a kite flying day for your school. 

EXTRA PARTS: Boys should bring along an extra stick and 
some paper in case of accident to kite. 

NEW INVENTIONS: Special new features will be recognized 
if they have real merit. 

PRIZES : Ribbon badges and diplomas will be awarded as in 
former years. 

ORGANIZE: Distribute your efforts over many events. 

REGISTRATION : Send in registration to Mr. Miller at Grand 
Ave. School on Friday. Give names of boys. No one will be kept out 
for lack of registration. 


MEASURING: Kite lines for quarter and one-eighth mile dashes 
and yacht race will be measured at Grand Ave. School, Thursday and 
Friday afternoons, April 18th and 19th. 

Come one come all. 




Kite making and kite flying have been enjoyed for centuries in the 
orient and for a good many years in this country, and will continue as 
a seasonal sport for perhaps all time. It can be made more interesting 
and useful by a little cooperation on the part of the grown-ups. It may 
be only expression of appreciation of the effort put forth by some 
otherwise idle fellow, or it may be in the form of a request of teacher 
to pupil for a nice kite as a gift for a third party, or it may be the 
arousing of school spirit for the best showing at a tournament, it might 
be assistance rendered in planning a beautiful kite, and it might be a 
great many other things that have not been mentioned. Kite making 
will not catch and make good every boy, even with the best efforts of 
the best teachers, but it will go farther than any other enticement toward 
bringing about good comradeship between teacher and scholar, which is 
half the battle with uncertain temperaments in some boys. We need to 
come shoulder to shoulder with the boys to help them most. 

But the merits of kite making go farther than the social relationship, 
it arouses the inventive spirit in the boy, fills in many otherwise idle 
hours with good healthy sport that occupies the children out of doors. 
It is not wasted time unless indulged in to too great excess, but new 
developments bring about new studies of the kite problems that are as 
good for the boys as problems of other subjects like arithmetic and 
geometry for we must remember that boys have subject of study not 
found in text-books. 

Someone told me not long ago that "no one could think an evil 
thought while looking up". Some one else has written, "If the outlook 
is not good, try the uplook". This latter has a greater significance than 
would be generally applied to boys flying kites, but who knows what 
boys are really thinking about; maybe we underestimate their abilities 
and inclinations. Our boys often need more persistency of effort, and 
must be held to their jobs by much attention on the part of overseers. 
Most boys will stick to kite making against great discouragement and 
some will continue, for long periods, working patiently and carefully 
until they succeed. The string is often a source of great annoyance, it 




snarls up and some lads will cut out the hard knots, but others will 
tackle the knotty problems and untangle them, they will do the same 
with knotty problems in life later on. It is patience that wins in many 
a tangled strife. Boys do not as a rule have as good feeling for color 
harmony, or so the ladies think, as the girls ; help the boys out a little 
on their color combinations on their kites. It may be the first time the 
boy has had a problem of his own in color work. 

Perhaps the little aeroplane does not go very far, it looks like a 
failure. Do you look on and pass on? If the model goes at all by its 
own power, that boy has made a something that has overcome the force 
of gravity to the extent of traveling transversely to its downward pull. 
Recognize it, and encourage the boy. There is a difference between 
flinging one so that it will travel for a short distance, and releasing one 
that travels by its own power. The former may be a deception. Give 
credit where credit is due. 

The balloons have very little lifting power, but the force of gravity 
has been overcome, two gases of unequal density have been placed in 
juxtaposition and the lighter one goes up. So we might go on with 
each of the subjects attempted in this book. There has been great 
demand for the briefer treatise, and I hope this little book may have 
met the expectancy of its readers more than half way. 

Remember it is not just the pretty kite soaring high in the sky. 
Remember there is a BOY at the other end of the kite line. Boost 
for him. 




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