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Monday, February 25, 2008
During this same period, in America, another novel use for kites was found. In 1845, a bridge across the Niagara Gorge above the falls was envisioned. The Falls had become a huge tourist attraction and developers imagined huge profits if a bridge above it could be constructed. But in an age before helicopters how do you stretch a cable across an eight hundred foot gorge which towers over two hundred feet above a treacherous rapids.
Kites were suggested by one engineer. And from this the idea of the Niagara Gorge Kite Contest was born. In January 1848 the contest commenced. After several failed attempts, young Homan Walsh succeeded on January 30, 1848. His prize was about ten dollars. With a kite line now across the gorge, it was used to pull a stronger line across. Then a rope was attached to this line and pulled across. Finally, a steel cable was pulled across. This cable paved the way for the first cable car to cross the gorge, then a suspension bridge later that same year.
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