Steam engine for a Hargrave kite, 1892.
2 7 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 19cm

Steam engine for a Hargrave kite, 1892.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Photograph of a steam engine weighing 5 lbs 11 oz, to power a model flying machine designed by the English-born Australian aeronautical pioneer, Lawrence Hargrave (1850-1915). Hargrave was primarily interested in the posibility of powered flight. After experiments using stretched rubber bands and compresed air, he used lightweight steam engines to power model flying machines, with limited succes. Hargrave also developed box kites, which formed the basis of a number of succesful power driven aeroplanes developed in the first decade of the 20th century, including the 'No 14 bis' plane flown in France by Alberto Santos-Dumont in September 1906. In honour of his achievements, a portrait of Hargrave appeared on the Australian $20 note.

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