Manuscripts/Mixed Material Article by Augustus Goss, April 1906
It is by joining cell to cell that the inventor builds up his largest structures and so overcomes the law that weight must increase faster that the spread of surface. It is in this way that his mammoth kites, those having hundreds of square feet of surface, remain in every respect proportional to those of smaller size. These cells possess remarkable strength even when the pieces of which they are composed are exceedingly frail. They are not simply braced in two directions like a triangle, but in three like a solid. The cells are wonderfully light in proportion to their expanse of surface. A frame of this pattern strong enough to lift a man weighs but twelve pounds. The most encouraging thing is that these larger kites are the best fliers, and their stability even in the most fitful of winds is surprising.
In Professor Bell's earlier experiments the framework of the cells was made of black spruce, but since his later machines are designed for man lifting purposes aluminum is used. Thus far the kites have been started on their upward flight precisely as a toy kite is started—by being pulled forward against the air current. The inventor declares that if toy kites rise by being pulled forward larger machines will rise by being propelled in the same direction. His latest test has made it certain that a kite loaded with a propeller and steering apparatus can be flown, and it looks now as if the aeroplane type of flying machine were destined to outstrip the gas bag device in the race for practical results.
Professor Bell's career as a scientific investigator reads like a fairy tale. Just before he made known his invention of the telephone he was a teacher on a small stipend in a school for deaf-mutes in Boston. That was over thirty years ago, and within a few years from that memorbale announcement—so wonderful that it seemed incredible at the time—his check was good for millions. In one marvelous leap he took his place at the head of the list of scientists in America and became a millionaire philanthropist, spending his fortune lavishly for the betterment of deaf-mutes and applying his genius to the discovery of some means to remedy their lamentable state.
But his desire to unravel the secrets of nature has ripened into a passion which no mere acquisition of wealth or position can satisfy. It is his fondest wish that he may live long enough to solve for mankind the problem which he believes to be just within his grasp and which to his clairvoyant sight is no longer veiled in impenetrable mystery.