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Friday, February 22, 2008
George Pocock a few years later did a lot of experimenting with kites. Pocock was an inventor and schoolteacher from Bristol, England. He started his experiments using kites to lift weights. Starting with small stones, he gradually worked his way up to using a specially designed chair to first lift his daughter, then his son, into the air in 1825. He used the kite to place his son on the top of a high cliff on the English coast. His son dismounted, then remounted and returned safely to the earth.
Perhaps the most interesting idea he came up with was kite drawn carriages. In 1826 he designed a device he called the Charvolant (from the French char for carriage attached to volant from the French term for kite: cerf-volant). This was a fairly elaborate kite drawn carriage complete with steering and braking capability. He achieved speeds of up to twenty miles an hour with this vehicle and easily overtook horse drawn carriages with it. He even undertook a 113 mile trip through the English countryside with it.
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