Manuscripts/Mixed Material Article by Alexander Graham Bell, October 11, 1910
The second was upon “The Tetrahedral Principle in Kite Structure” presented April 23d, 1903; and published, with 91 illustrations and an Appendix, in the National Geographic Magazine for June, 1903 (Vol. XIV, pp 220–251).
The experiments referred to, which were undertaken at first for my own pleasure and amusement, have gradually assumed a serious character from their bearing upon the flying machine problem.
The word “Kite” unfortunately is suggestive to most minds of a toy — just as the telephone at first was thought to be a toy — so that the word does not at all adequately express the nature of the enormous flying-structures employed in some of my exploits. These structures were really aerial vehicles rather than kites, for they were capable of lifting men and heavy weights into the air. They were flown after the manner of kites, but their flying cords were stout Manilla ropes. They could not be held by hand in a heavy breeze; but had to be anchored to the ground by several turns of the ropes around stout cleats like those employed on steamships and men-of-war.
One of the great difficulties in making a large structure light enough to be flown as a kite, has been pointed out by Prof. Simon Newcomb in an article in McClure's Magazine published in September, 1901, entitled “Is the Airship Coming?”; and this difficulty had so much weight with him at that time, as to lead him to the general conclusion that “The Construction of an Aerial Vehicle which could carry even a single man