Last up date:2007/8/1
Chronological Table of Kite History

Chronological Table of Kite History

-BC, -100s, 900s-, 1200s-, 1500s-, 1700s-, 1800s-, 1900s-, 2000s-

Two kite makers, Kungshu P'an who made kites shaped like birds which could fly for up to three days, and Mo Zi(who is said to have spent three years building a special kite and successfully made a hawk out of wood) were famous in Chinese traditional stories from as early as the fifth century BC.

General Han Hsin is said to have flown a kite over a palace in order to judge the distance between his army and the palace walls, so that a tunnel of the correct length might be dug to allow his troops to enter. Refer to The Drachen Foundation site.

Kites were introduced to Korea and Japan.

The Romans were flying decorated windsocks as military banners.

Emperor Wudi in China flew a kite, hidden an edict to ask for reinforcement in it.
Emperor in China sentenced crinals to make a flight on a kite.
The Samguk Sagi, written in 1145AD recounts how General Gim Yu-Sin (596 – 637 AD) was asked by Queen Zindong (28th Ruler of the Silla Dynasty) to quell an uprising of rebels. While the General was pursuing his orders to squelch the rebellion, a shooting star fell. This was an exceptionally bad omen to both the rebels and Gim Yu-Sin’s troops, causing heightened anxiety to all. Calm and peace were restored when the General got the notion to lift a “fireball” (lantern) up into the night sky using a large kite. Thus, he convinced everyone that the shooting star had returned to the heavens and disaster was adverted.
Emperor Xuan Zong in China watched kite flying in Yichun Garden.
The word word for "kite" (Ikanobori, old name of Tako ) appeared for the first time in the book of "Wamyouruijoshou" . This is said to be the oldest written record about kites in Japan. The kite was built with paper and bamboo.

960 to 1126
Flying kites became a popular activity in China. People celebrated the ninth day of the month, a day signifying the banishing of evil, by flying kites.

Kiyohara no Iehira is said to have communicated with his lord by kite in Japan.

The famous hero Minamoto no Tametomo exiled to the island of Oshima in the Izu Island constructs a huge kite to bear his son back to Honshu in Japan.

Jin, sieged by Mongolia, flew kites to send message to the enemy soldiers.

According to Science and Civilization in China, J. Needham wrote that in 1232, the Chinese used kites for psychological warfare. Kites were used to drop leaflets into a compound that held prisoners. The leaflets incited a riot that led to the prisoners escape.

Kites were introduced to Europe by Marco Polo, an Italian explorer who returned from China.

The first time the word patang found mention in Indian literature. It was used by Manzan in Madhumati, where the flight of a kite is associated with the loved one by a poet. Marathi poets Eknath and Tukaram also described kites in their verses, where the word vavdi has been used.

Hamamatsu Fighting Kite Festival began at Shizuoka Pref., Japan.

Nagasaki Hata Fighting Kite Festival began at Nagasaki Pref., Japan.

Earliest picture of a kite in England appeared in the book 'The Mysterys of Nature and Art' written by John Bate issued 1635. This, like so many others at the time, was thought of as an aid to fireworks displays. Bate does not use the word 'kite', but he describes in detail how to make and use one.

Sanjo Rokkaku fighting kite festival began at Niigata Pref.,Japan

Kite Flying was inhibited in Japan. Kite stores in the town closed but the kite flying was continued still by children.

Kite Flying was inhibited again in Japan.

As depicted by Bill Thomas in The Complete World Of Kites, the kite played an important role in an early territory battle between the Hindus and Muslims. A young Shah named Shivaji used a kite to get a line across a chasm near Poona. Under cover of darkness, kite line was replaced by rope and Shivaji’s men were able to scale the wall of the fortress and overtake the guards.

Shirone Kite Festival began at Niigata Pref., Japan.

Wan-Wan dako Festival began at Tokushima Pref., Japan.

Kakinoki Kinsuke (also known as Kakinomura Kinsuke) is supposed to have boarded a great kite in order to steal the golden scales from the fabulous dolphionlike fish on the rigdepole of NAGOYA CASTLE

Showamachi(Hoshubana) Giant Kite Festival began at Saitama Pref., Japan.

Scottish meteorologists named Dr.Alexander Wilson and Thomas Melville used kites to lift thermometers to a height of 3000 feet to measure temperature variations at altitude.

Benjamin Franklin flew his kite to collect the electricity from storm clouds in Philadelphia.
You can see another site about The Dracgen Foundation site.

Yakko dako appeared in Edo (old Tokyo).

Francisco de Goya painted his famous work which title was "KITE" and the painting is exhibited at Museo del Prado (Prado Art Museum).

Kite Flying was inhibited again in Japan.

Kite Flying by adult was inhibited again in Japan because kites became too luxurious kites such as a decolated Edo kite and other too expensive kite.

Geroge Vaykey developed the concept of heavier-than-air flight. His glider was a modified arch top kite.

George Pocockdeveloped one of the strangest uses of kite power. He used a pair of kites to pull a special light-weight carriage at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Some of his kite trip were recorded at over 100 miles. This is believed as the origin of the first buggy kiting. Refer to The Drachen Foundation site.

George Pocock had patented a four stringed kite used for pulling carriage.

During a demonstration for King George IV, Pocock's Charvolant was able to journey from Bristol to Marlbrough easily overtaking the London mail coach following a similar foute. Later, he took a 113 mile trip across the British countryside to attempt to demonstrate the reliability of the vehicle as a means of travel.

Sagamihara Giant Kite Festival began at Kanagawa Pref., Japan.

A British meteorologist, E.D.Archibold started using kites to lift anemometers to measure wind speed at various altitudes.

Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival began at Shiga Pref., Japan.

Hojubana Kite Fwstival began at Showa twon in Saitama Pref., Japan.

Homan Walsh succeeded to the crossing of the first line over Niagara Falls by his kite. The string of his kite was fastened to a tree on the far side of the river, a light cord attached to it, and carefully pulled across. Next came a heavier cord, then rope and finally a wire cable composed of a number of strands of number ten wire, which was to be the beginning of the new brigde.

During the Russian War, Admiral Sir. Arthur made some trials with twelve-foot kites to see if they might be used to tow torpedoes to a target. The trials were very successuful, hte kites trevelling fast and accurately over distances of about two miles.

Jean Marie LeBris built a large kite shaped lake an albatrosss.The wings could be acted upon. He put this kite on a horse drawn cart on a cliff in Britanny, facing the ocean.

It is with great enthusiasm that I am able to report that in January of 2002, definitive proof of regular kite use in the American Civil War was located. It had been rumored, there were stories, but there was never any concrete evidence before. This research has just begun; but there is much to do and there are more questions then answers. What we do know for sure is that there were kites made near Vicksburg in 1863, and in 1865 they were used for sending orders over enemy lines trying to entice deserters by offering money for horses and arms. Official communique from the Civil War has been located in the War Records Office, some requesting kite making materials and one that requested, “…10,000 feet of strong kite string be sent at once…”!

A British meteorologist, Douglas Archibold flew a kite with a wind speed meter up to 2500 feet above the ground.

Alexander McAdie flew a kite with an electrometer up to several handreds feet above the ground and measeured the voltage difference between the air and the ground in Blue Hill, Boston.

Zama Giant Kite Festival began at Kanagawa Pref., Japan.

A British meteorologist, E.D.Archibold took an first aerial photograph from a kite.

William Eddy flew a kite with a thermometer in Bayonne, NewJersey.

Chuhachi Ninomiya invented plane model. It was twelve years before the success of Wright brothers.

A photographer by the name of William Eddy, from Bayonne, New Jersey, created a bowed form of the diamond-shaped Malay kite by tensioning the lateral spar.

A keel for a kite was invented by Edward Boynton, Brooklyn, New York.
Lawrence Hargrave invented the box, or cellular kite.

Captain B.F.S. Baden-Powell designed a stack of six large hexagonal kites for the British that were used in the Boer War in South Africa to lift soldiers into the air to observe the enemy. Captain Baden-Powell also did a series of tests using kites to carry messages from one ship to another.

Lawrence Hargrave was lifted from the ground by a train of four of his "cellular kites". This was simple one stage in his quest for a stable lifting surface which could then be uaaased as a means of transportation.

Alexander Graham Bell designed "tetra" by combining lightweight stics. He flew the "Frost King" kite with 256 cells and improvised to have 1300 and later, 3396 cells. Around the same time Samuel Cody carried out experiments with a man carrying biplane bliders.

US Army officer Lieutenant Hugh D. Wise successfully worked out a system to lift a man using Hargrave box kites. It was planned for use in the Spanish American War for enemy observation, but the location and deployment of troops was learned by another means. Unfortunately, the airplane soon made the system obsolete before another opportunity could present itself.

The Wright Brothers used kites to test their theories for the first flying machine(airplane).

Guglielmo Marconi succeeded to communicate between Cornwall, England and St.Johnes, NewFoundland with an aid of antenna which was fixed to the line of the kite because the antenna was bloken due to the storm. On a cold and windy December 12th, 1901, Marconi heard a distinct tapping: three dots - the letter "S" in Mores code - transmitted from Poldhu Cove in Cornwall, England, more than 1,800 miles away at the summit of Signal Hill, St.John's harbour.
The kite used by Marconi's team was shaped like a rokkaku and was based on a small version of a design by Capt. B.F.S. Baden-Powell (1860-1937). The kite was built for Marconi by G.C. Spencer and Bros. Ltd., Highbury, London, England. Spencer and Company was a well known supplier of balloons and kites. The company no longer exists.

Guglielmo Marconi
The largest kite ever built was established at Yokaichi in Shiga Pref., Japan. It's weight was 1,050kg, and the size was 18m square. 215 people in total were needed to fly the kite successfully.

The kite-fishing was recoreded in England by an enthusiatic fisherman. He flew two box kites carrying fishing line.

Samuel F. Cody patented his kite system of man lifting and gave a demonstration to the War Office in December of 1901 for use in military applications. The Admiralty allowed trials on warships during 1904 & 1905. The War Office adopted the system in 1906 for Army observation. Cody was given Officer status with the post of Chief Kite Instructor at Farnborough with orders to design and manufacture kites and give instructions in their operation.

The French Military (Conyne) Kite raised military observers.

Wright brothers succeeded in the first flight by their plane with the engine.
Lieutenant Schreiber of the Imperial Russian Navy was also experimenting with a man lifting system using a Hargrave double box. His system was abandoned after several fatalities proved it unstable. Captain Ulyanin of the Russian Army developed a train of double Conyne kites that achieved the lift they were looking for.

Tetrahedral kite was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, Washington, DC.

Kite carried a camera aloft to take aerial photographs of the damage caused by the San Fransisco earthquake.

Dr.Alexander Graham Bell flew a man carrying kite made up of over 3,000 tetrahedral cells.

Charles Dollfus held a competition to determine the most suitable man lifting technique to be considered by the French Military Authorities. Captain Madiot won the contest with a winged box kite system. Captain Madiot died in an aeroplane accident a year later and the French Army adopted Captain Saconney’s man lifting system. Saconney’s kite-corps contained a motorcar, trailer, and a winch that was driven by the car’s engine. The system was also installed aboard the ship, The Edgar Quintet, in 1911.

During World War I, Germany designed a folding box kite system, facilitating their use as man-lifting devices compact enough to store aboard their submarines. After launching the kite, a basket with its occupant was hauled up using a man-powered winch.

Samuel Perkins researched man-carrying kites for observational uses by the U.S. Army during World War I. He used kites that were nine to twelve feet high in trains of three to six. Perkins work never passed the trial stage.

During World War I, the British,French, Italian, na dRussian armies all used kites for enemy observation and signaking. The German Navy continued to use man-lifting box kites to increase the viewing range of surface-cruising submarines.

Two-line control of kite was invented by Edward Sprague,Jr., Oak Park, Illinois.

A German flew a kite train to an altitude of 31,955 feet.

Paul Garberhad written a kite flying manual for the Boy Scouts. Target kites were used for shooting excercise.

The Gibson Girl Box, Garber's Target Kite and Saul's Barrage Kite were all used in World War II.

The British Admiralty introduced a barrage kite to protect Naval Destroyers. The Hargrave double box kites were adorned with suspended wires or dangling bombs as a deterrent to aerial enemy attack.

The Barrage Balloon and Kite School was opened in New York City. Saul’s barrage kites were flown on wire lines and capable of shearing wings, which was very effective against enemy dive-bombers. Canisters of explosives were attached to the piano type wire used to fly the kites. At one time 3,300 of the Saul’s Barrage kites flew from the sterns of Merchant ships carrying cargo from the United States and Canada to Europe.

Paul Garberused a kite as a target of gun crews.

The Focke-Achegelis F.A. 330 was invented by aircraft expert Dr. Henrich Focke. It is a rotating wing or gyroplane kite that is highly maneuverable and obtains lift from submarine traction. The kite has a set of rotating blades supporting an observation chair. It could be assembled in seven minutes, taken apart in less time, and obtained a height of fifty feet.

Commander Paul Garber of the U. S. Navy developed a target kite that could simulate maneuvers of an airplane to provide a moving target to enhance the training of aircraft gunners. Garber also used signal kites to pass important messages from ship to plane. A cable with the package of papers attached to it, was strung between two kites, the airplane flying overhead would catch the cable with a long hook.

American Servicemen had life rafts with special radios for use by shipwrecked crewman or downed aircraft. A box kite that served as a spotter and radio antenna was designed to work with a hand-cranked transmitter as a lifesaving rescue device during World War II. This device, called the Gibson Girl, was in use up to, and including, the Vietnam War. It was eventually made obsolete by the invention of cell phones.

W.Somerset Maugham published his novel "The Kite" included in "Creatures of Circumstance.

George D.Wanner, Dayton, Ohio was granted the patent of the flexivble kite which is considered the origin of modern kites.

Francis Rogallo developed a completely flexible kite, with no rigid supporting spars.

The American Kitefliers Association was founded by the late Robert M. Ingraham of New Mexico.

Domina Jalbert designed the parafoil. His concepts have been adapted for parachutes and kites.

Highest altitude record with nineteen kites train was established by high school group in U.S.A. The altitude record was 10,830 m above the ground.

The Japan Kite Association was founded by late Shingo Modegi and other fourteen members who lived in Tokyo.

Peter Powel introduced a toy dual line stunter and the public began to fly kites not only for fun, but also for sport.

The Australian Kite Association was founded on Hargrave's principles of sharing interest and knowledge of kites freely with others of like mind around the world.

Kazuhiko Aasaba flew 4,128 kites on a single line.

Students of Inami Junior High School, Toyohashi-city Japan, established the new record of train kites of 15,585 kites over the sea from sea side. This record was authorized by Guiness World Records.

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