Authors: Paul Chapman
Date Submitted: March 31, 2009
Article Type: Discourse

Alistair McKee came around to see me just before Christmas. Alistair works for the BBC and had been put onto me as a source of information on George Pocock, who, in the ear ly 1800s , pract iced the ar t of aeropleustics in and around Bristol. We had a little rummage around my collection of old kite stuff and turned up a copy of the kite patent by Viney and Pocock, as well as the two classic Pocock books of 1827 and 1851, and various other stuff that included authentic instructions on building the kites and kite carriage. The 1851 book is particularly scarce. In it, you will find the account of a race between three buggies from Bristol to Marlborough, one with a crew of six and the others with three in each buggy. (This was reproduced in The Kiteflier for October 2006.)

Alistair’s project was to make a replica of Pocock’s system and then to test it. This seemed a big challenge, particularly with respect to making an historically accurate replica, since the patent only shows a side view of the power kite and the plate in the books shows a plan view but with no details of the sticks. The “how to make it” book tells you how to make the sticks, but still fails to show the kite framework.

Then Alistair threw me a helping hand. We were looking at my stocks of hard laid hemp and fine cotton cambric, when he said that the cambric looked about right.

Page Number: 33
PDF Link: Discourse Issue