The Virtual Kite Zoo - Uses of Kites

Kites have many uses. Here are just some, in no particular order: _________________________________________________________________

Pocock found that kite traction had an unexpected but welcome spin-off, when he approached a toll-gate in his Char-volant. He wrote:
"On one occasion an old inquisitive lady-like turnkey refused to open the gate to a party with the Char-volant. Hearing a carriage rattle up to the bar, she ran hastily out; but on seeing no animals attached to the vehicle, she started and stared, and after a short pause, exclaimed,'Why, gentlemen! what d'ye go by? what is it that draws you?' The kites were pointed out to her aloft in the air, and then, for the first time, she noticed the string fastened to the car. 'What', she added, 'do they draw you along? Do they indeed!! Well, what must I charge you, gentlemen? What d'ye call them?' - 'Kites, Kites!' - 'They ben't horses!' 'Oh, no.' - 'Nor mules!' 'No.' 'And I'm sure they ben't donkeys, nor oxen!' Then slowly examining every square inch of her notice board, she observed, 'Kites! Kites! Why, there be nothing about Kites on my board - so I suppose you must go along about your business!'"

Kite traction was eventually defeated not by the mighty steam engine, but by the telegraph. Telegraph wires were found to be even more of an inconvenience than bridges!

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Copyright © 1999 Philip Le Riche
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