or ... How a Wild West Showman Brought Man-Lifting Kites to the British Army
“While touring Great Britain he became enamored with kites,” says Skinner. Kite enthusiasm in Europe was flourishing; serious hobbyists and scientists alike read kiting magazines and gathered at annual fetes. Cody built and flew them, and finally decided to throw his effort into designing a man-lifting kite that could be turned into dollar signs and prestige.The military use of man-lifting kites soon faded with the rise of the airplane, which even Cody preferred. Besides, we eventually figured out how to use airborne cameras without a photographer. Read about the fascinating Samuel Franklin Cody and his kite scheme at Atlas Obscura.
By 1901, Cody had patented a version of a man-lifting kite, and according to biographer Garry Jenkins, was flexing his entrepreneurial muscles. “By then he has already written to the war office, offering them first option on ‘SF Cody’s Aroplaine [sic] or War-Kite: A boy’s toy turned into an instrument of war,’” he wrote in Colonel Cody and the Flying Cathedral.