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Scout Books

Site Contents

By Dan Beard

Figs. 33-37. 
The Funny Hargrave Kite.

In 1884 Mr. E. Douglass Archibald, of the Royal Meteorological Society, sent up two diamond-shaped kites, one seven feet and the other four feet in diameter, both attached to one string. These kites, like Ben Franklin's, were covered with silk; they carried scientific instruments 2,200 feet into the air. "Pshaw," said some Americans, "how is this for high?" and they sent a tandem team of kites 6,000 feet up in the air; over a mile high!

That is kite flying! Why, if any one of the boys had been able to do such a thing when the author was a lad flying kites on the banks of the Ohio River, that boy would have achieved fame enough to satisfy even the vaulting ambition of a young Ben Franklin. The writer's experiments had no scientific ends in view; his mission was to introduce new shapes of kites and prove by experiment that they would fly. He felt more pride in holding by main strength the heavy hemp twine to which a six-foot, straddle-legged-man kite was attached than ever was experienced by any, of those learned professors with their tandems of tailless kites loaded with scientific instruments.

But all boys will be interested in Lawrence Hargrave's kites. This great Australian inventor of flying machines wanted some sort of an apparatus from which to send off his flying machine, and so he invented 

The Strangest Kite Ever Made.

In appearance there is nothing to suggest a kite; but then this is not surprising in a country where moles have the bills and feet of ducks and are credited with laying eggs, where poll-parrots kill sheep, and where natives have war clubs which when thrown at an enemy not only knock the enemy over but immediately return to their owners' hands. If the inhabitants of such a country fly kites we expect something unheard of in the kite line, and Lawrence Hargrave's kites do not disappoint us.

Imagine two boxes with their sides removed and connected by rods and you have the form of the Hargrave kite. Mr. Hargrave calls these boxes "cells," but you must not mind that any more than you do when Mr. Eddy, Mr. Woglom and Professor Clayton call their kites "aero-planes." They mean all right by it. After you grow up to man's estate and dignity, you too will be hunting up out-of-the-way terms for common things. But now, while you are boys, be charitable to the poor men and let them keep their dignity with big words, while you use simpler ones which answer the purpose better.

Mr. J. B. Millet Tests its Qualities.

Mr. Millet spent three summers experimenting with the Malay or Eddy kite and then constructed a Hargrave kite, and seems to be well satisfied with the action of this double dry-goods box, for that is what it most resembles.

Mr. Millet, in comparing the Hargrave with the Holland, Malay, or Eddy in the Aeronautical Annual, NO. 2,1896, says that "the Hargrave was the steadier, the less likely to break or lose its shape in the air, and lifted much more per square foot of lifting surface." He further says that it is a kite that can be anchored in the wind and left there without fear of disaster. It will fly steadily and not require constant mending or balancing.

It is evident a glance that the Hargrave kite must possess "rigidity, of frame. It is also evident that this is a most difficult quality to be secured without adding weight to the structure. Hence this kite is generally considered as unfit for light winds.

How to Make a Hargrave Kite.

Take eight slender, stiff pieces of bamboo, what the inland boys know as fishin' pole or cane. These sticks must be as evenly balanced as possible and exactly the same length, eighteen inches and three-quarters long. Next cut six sticks each eleven inches long and as nearly alike as possible. These are for the middle uprights and end stretchers. Find the middle of each of your first eight sticks and lash them together in pairs at their middle (Fig. 33 A). Use waxed shoe-thread to bind the middle points together, and make the spread between a and c just eleven inches. Notch the ends of the stick.

You now have four pairs of cross sticks neatly fastened together, and you must take one of your eleven-inch uprights and bind it to the ends of two pairs of cross sticks (Fig. 34 B). Take the other eleven-inch upright and fasten the other two pairs of cross sticks in the same manner.

Next cut two "booms," "spines," or connecting-rods, also of stiff bamboo, and let them each be thirty inches long, and like the two uprights, as nearly alike as it is possible for you to select them. Now, with your waxed thread, or shoe thread, bind the two booms over the ends of the eleven-inch stretchers or uprights (Fig. 35 C). The boom must fit like the top of a letter T over the stretchers, and be perfectly square, that is, at right angles with the stretcher, b, d, Fig. 34 B.

Each end of the booms must protrude beyond the uprights five and one-half inches, that is, the end b, k, the end d, l, the end m, b, and the end a, n, must each be five and one-half inches long, which leaves nineteen inches between b, b and d, d (Fig. 35 C). Bind the other four stretchers to the ends of the sticks a, c, etc., as shown in Fig. 36 D. Now string the frame, so that all the sticks (with the exception of the diagonal or cross sticks, Fig. 33 A) shall be, as the boys say, perfectly square with each other or, more correctly speaking, at right angles. Take an old paint-brush and a pot of hot glue, and paint all the joints with glue.

The frame is now finished, and it only needs a cover. The frame should now measure thirty inches in the longest dimension of the box or cell, eleven inches in the height of the cell, and eleven inches in the breadth of the cell, that is, 11 by 11 by 30 inches for each box or cell, and thirty inches for the length of the two booms, and eight inches between the cells. Cover the kite with light, strong cloth that will not stretch. Fit the cloth over the frame neatly, and sew it on so as to form two boxes covered at the top, bottom, and ends. But the two broad sides of each are left open

for the wind to whistle through. Hem all the raw edges of the cloth. On the bottom boom, at or near the inside edge of the cloth cover, lash with waxed thread a small brass ring for a belly-band (Fig- 37).

See Also:

Broom-Straw Hargrave Kite

Square Box Kites

Outdoor Handy Book






Additional Information:

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Introduction ] 25 Kites That Fly ] 2 Stick Frames ] 3 Stick Kite Frames ] Broom-Straw Frames ] Accessories ] Adjustments ] Altitude ] Balloon ] Barrel ] Bear Dancing ] Boat Sail ] Box, Pyramidal ] Box, Rectangular ] Box, Square ] Box, Square with Wings ] Box, Tri,  Wings ] Triangular Box Kite ] Boy ] Loose Kites ] Butterfly 1 ] Butterfly 2 ] Butterfly Chinese ] Cannibal ] Kite Clubs ] Cross ] Dragon Chinese ] Dragons & Fish ] Eddy ] Elephant ] English ] Filipino ] Fish ] Fisherman ] Kite Flying ] Flying Machine ] Frog 1 ] Frog 2 ] Girl ] Imp ] Japanese Square ] Keeled Buoy ] King Crab ] Knives & Cutters ] Luna Kite ] Kite Making ] Malay ] Maley or Bow ] Maly Triple ] Man ] Messengers ] Military ] Moving Star ] Neptune Notes ] Owl 1 ] Owl 2 ] Pennants ] Preface ] Pulley Weight ] Shield 1 ] Shield 2 ] Star ] Star, 5 Point ] Star, 6 Point ] Star, Belly-Band ] Steering ] [ Hargrave ] String 1 ] String 2 ] Swim ] Tailless ] Tailless R Best ] Tandem ] Tetrahedral ] Turtle ] Useful Info ] Wagon ] War ] Armed ] Unarmed ] Where to Fly ] Wind ] Winding In ] Windmill ] Ship ] Woglom ] Woman ] Yacht ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.