Patent kite and charvolant, 1827.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A charvolant or kite carriage was a vehicle designed to be drawn by a kite. According to its designer George Pocock, consistent speeds of 20 mph were posible. He built a four-wheeled charvolant, which he used regularly on the road between Bristol and Marlborough, once apparently overtaking a mail coach. Problems arising from a right-angled wind were to be overcome as follows: 'By means of the kite's side-lines (properly termed braces) an obliquity may be given to the kite's surface, and thus the angle of incidence is formed, on which the wind acting produces the traverse.' On dealing with a headwind, however, the book's author was unclear. Plate from Pocock's 'Treatise on the aeropleustic Art, or Navigation in the Air', (London, 1827).