A fictitious bird, made of paper. This well-known juvenile plaything has been of late years applied to several objects of utility: the foremost of these, and the most paramount in importance, is the invention of Captain Dansey, for effecting a communication" between a stranded ship and the shore, or, under other circumstances, where badness of weather renders the ordinary means impracticable. The following is an abbreviated description of the invention, extracted from the forty-first volume of the Transactions of the Society of Arts, where the subject is given more in detail, with engraved illustrations: - A sail of light canvas or holland is cut to the shape, and adapted for the application of the principles of the common flying kite, and is launched from the vessel or other point to windward of the space over which a communication is required: and as soon as it appears to be at a sufficient distance, a very simple and efficacious mechanical apparatus is used to destroy its poise and cause its immediate descent, the kite remaining however still attached to the line, ana moored by a small anchor with which it is equipped.
The kite, during its flight, is attached to the line by two cords placed in the usual manner, which preserves its poise in the air; and to cause it to descend, a messenger is employed, made of wood, with a small sail rigged to it The line being passed through a cylindrical hole in this messenger, the wind takes it rapidly up to the kite, where, striking against a part of the apparatus, it releases the upper cord, and by that means the head of the kite becomes reversed, and it descends with rapidity. In the experiments made by Capt. Dansey, with the view of gaining communication with a lee-shore, under the supposition of no assistance being there at hand, a grapnel, consisting of four spear-shaped iron spikes was fixed to the head of the kite, so as to moor it in its fall, and in this emergency, the attempt of some person- to get on shore along the line, would be the means resorted to. In those cases where a communication has been gained, and the maintenance of a correspondence has been the object, the person to windward has attached a weight to the messenger, in some cases as much as three pounds, which, having been carried up, has of course descended with the kite; the person to leeward has then furled the sail of the messenger, and loaded it with as much weight as the kite could lift; then replacing the apparatus, and exposing the surface of the kite to the direct action of the wind, it has rapidly risen, the messenger running down the line to windward during its ascent.
The kite with which Capt. Dansey performed the greater part of his experiments, extended 1100 yards of line, five-eighths of an inch in circumference, and would have extended more had it been at hand. It also extended 360 yards of line, 1 3/4 inch in circumference, and weighing 60 lbs.; the Holland weighed 3 1/2 lbs; the spars, one of which was armed at the head with iron spikes, for the purpose of mooring it, 6 3/4 lbs.; and the tail was five times its length, composed of 8 lbs. of rope and 14 lbs. of elm plank. A complete model of the apparatus was deposited with the Society, who presented Capt. Dansey with their gold Vulcan medal for his invention and communication.