Lawrence Hargrave (1850 - 1915)

This is a box kite. Lawrence Hargrave invented the first one. ©Getty

This is a box kite. Lawrence Hargrave invented the first one. ©Getty

Lawrence Hargrave (1850 - 1915) researched the way various types of kites flew and in 1893 he invented the first box kite.

Hargrave wanted to fly in one of his kites and, after many trials, on 12 November 1894, at the beach at Stanwell Park in New South Wales, he joined four box kites together, attached a seat and flew five metres into the air. The kites were attached to the ground by wire. This demonstration proved to people that a safe flying machine was possible. His box kites were more stable and had greater lift than monoplanes.

Hargrave tests his kites at Stanwell Park beach 1894

Hargrave tests his kites at Stanwell Park beach 1894

When the first European aircraft were built, they used Hargrave-type box kites for their supporting surface.

 

Hargrave's other research into flight

In 1884 and 1892 he experimented with monoplane models.

In 1892 he discovered that a wing with a curved surface gave greater lift than a wing with a flat surface.

Hargrave's stem engines

Hargrave built seventeen steam engines in an attempt to create an engine that would be light and powerful enough to get his flying machines into the air, keep them there and propel them in a horizontal direction. None was successful. In 1889 he built a rotary aeroplane engine.

About the man

Hargrave, and his box-kites, are engraved on every Australian $20 note

Hargrave, and his box-kites, are engraved on every Australian $20 note

Lawrence Hargrave was born in Greenwich, England on January 29, 1850.

He arrived in Australia in 1865. (His father was already in New South Wales since 1856)

In 1872 he went exploring in New Guinea.

In 1878 he went to work as an assistant astronomical observer at Sydney Observatory.

See Hargraves' box kite models:

http://www.design-technology.org/models.htm

Read more about Hargraves and his kites here:

http://kitehistory.com/Miscellaneous/Hargrave.htm

Read instructions about how to make a box kite:

http://www.my-best-kite.com/how-to-build-a-box-kite.html