Although the exact date and origin of kites is unknown, it is believed that they were flown two thousand years ago in China. The first known recording of a kite in flight was a military maneuver from 200 B.C. Chinese General Han Hsin flew a kite over the walls of a city he was preparing to attack. From the length of the line, he determined how far to tunnel under the walls to get into the city. Their surprise attack gave the army the victory.
Kites eventually began to take on a cultural significance. They were used to dispel evil spirits, to bring good luck, and to send offering to the gods, but eventually, they were used for other purposes, including as vehicles, scientific research tools, and, of course, for recreation. Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, and the Wright brothers all used kites to study the wind and weather. In 1822, a school teacher named George Pocock used two kites to pull a carriage, sometimes up to 100 miles per hour. Kites were used in World War I, but were soon replaced by airplanes. In World War II, kites were used again as recovery beacons and target practice.
Today, kites are mainly used for recreation. They are made from new materials such as nylon, fiberglass, and carbon graphite. In 1972, the toy dual-line kite was introduced, and a sport was born. New developments in the sport include kite sledding and the newest high-speed sport, kite surfing. If it has been awhile since you’ve tried a kite out, take time to enjoy the improvements of kites and the fun of kite flying.
It’s always fun to learn something new! At Oxford at Estonia Apartments in San Antonio, Texas, we love to provide you with fun, thought-provoking facts that will make you reflect on different aspects of life.