General Hong Sin of the Dynasty flew a kite over the walls of a city he was attacking to measure how far his army would have to tunnel to reach past the defenses. Knowing this distance his troops reached the inside of the city, surprised their enemy, and were victorious. Kite flying was eventually spread by traders from China to Korea, and across Asia to India. Each area developed a distinctive style of kite and cultural purpose for flying them. During the Silly Dynasty of Korea around the year 600, General Gym Using was ordered to subdue a revolt.
However, his troops refused to fight. They had seen a large shooting star fall from the sky and believed it to be a bad omen. To regain control, the General used a large kite to carry a fire ball into the sky. The soldiers, seeing the star return to heaven, rallied and defeated the rebels. Kites were brought to Japan about the century by Buddhist monks. They were used to avert evil spirits and to Insure rich harvests. Kite flying became very popular in Japan during the EDDO period.
For the first time Japanese people below the samurai class were allowed to fly kites.The Do (now Tokyo) government tried successfully to discourage this pastime as “too many people became unmindful of their work. ” According to one story, about 300 years ago a thief was said to use a large kite to carry himself to the top of Castle in order to steal a golden statue from the roof. All he was able to remove were a few small pieces. Later he was captured and punished severely when he bragged of his exploits. The earliest evidence of Indian kite flying comes from miniature paintings from the Mogul Period around 1500.A favorite theme was of a young man skillfully using his kite to drop messages to a lover who was being held In strict seclusion from him and the rest of the world.
There are many stones about how the people of Micronesia used leaf kites to carry bait far out over the water where the gar-fish fed. The Polynesians have myths about two brother gods introducing kites to man when they had a kite duel. The winning brother flew his kite the highest. There are still contests in the islands where the highest flying kite is dedicated to the gods.Marco Polo carried stories of kites to Europe around the end of the century. Illustrations of the period show on-flying dragon kites on military banners. Sailors also brought kites back from Japan and Malaysia in the 1 and centuries.
Kites were regarded as curiosities at first and had little impact on European culture. In the and centuries, kites were used as vehicles and tools for scientific research. Men like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Wilson used their knowledge of kite flying to learn more about the wind and weather.Sir George Carrey, Samuel , Lawrence , Alexander Graham Bell, and the Brothers all experimented with kites and contributed to development of the airplane. The US Weather service flew kites instruments and cameras. One of the strangest uses of kite power was developed by schoolmaster George . In 1822, he used a pair of kites to pull a carriage at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
Some of his kite trips were recorded at over 100 miles. And because road taxes at the time were based on the number of horses a carriage used, he was exempted from any tolls!During World War l, the British, French, Italian, and Russian armies all used kites for enemy observation and signaling. The introduction of airplanes quickly made these units obsolete. The German Navy continued to use man-lifting box kites to increase the viewing range of surface-cruising submarines. In World War , the US Navy found several uses for kites. Harry Sail’s Barrage Kite prevented airplanes from flying too low over targets. Pilots lost at sea raised the -Girl Box kite so they could be found.
And Paul Granger’s Target Kite, a large Diamond was used for target practice and aircraft recognition at sea. As the airplane became firmly established the kite was used less for military purposes or scientific research and more for recreational flying. The last 50 years has seen renewed interest in kiting. New materials like nylon, fiberglass, and carbon graphite have made kites stronger, lighter, more colorful, and more durable. Important inventions like Francis flex-wing and Domino Albertan kites helped develop modern hang-gliders and sport parachutes.