Most of the moving devices on kites are operated best by means of windmills. The windmill can be placed back of the kite out of sight. Various movements can be devised such as opening and shutting of eyes and mouth and moving of ears. Feet and hands can be made to dangle without any device. The windmill can also be used for decorative purposes.


There are two general kinds of windmills. Those turning from left to right and vice versa, and those turning fore and back. The last named type is used for eyes that turn. The eyes are set in little rims of some stiff material, a thin piece of bamboo, shaving, or stiff cardboard. Holes are cut in the covering of the kite and these rims are pasted in so as to stand edgewise. These rims prevent the interference of any obstruction to the revolving eyes. The eye may be set in place by means of a wire running thru each side of the rim and thru the eye. The eye has a smaller rim on which two half circles of paper are pasted, see Fig. 148. A little paper wound into a little ball would be made by the Chinese boys, but a glass bead will answer to keep the eye away from the rim of the opening. The two semicircles of paper are on the two halves of the eye. In Fig. 148, a is on the upper half of the front side while the other semicircle, b, is on the lower half of the back. Sometimes little mirrors are pasted to the eyes, as at m, to reflect the light as they spin around, which they certainly do, if nicely set in their places. Some use considerable black on one half and white on the other, giving a blinking effect. This same kind of revolving disk is sometimes used on wires or cord to the outside of the kite, see Fig. 134.

The revolving device, while not as familiar as our little windmills, is more easily secured in position but it is not impossible and in fact is not a very difficult task to fasten the windmills. The windmills can be made of stiff paper, any stiff cover paper will do; they spin well and arc very light. They are usually made of a square piece of paper which is cut on the diagonal nearly to the center, Fig. 149; one of the points of each section is then brought a little past the center and a pin pushed thru, Fig. 150. These little whirligigs can be attached with the pin to the framework of the kite at various places.

Windmills 152

Fig. 148.

Windmills 153

Fig. 149.

Windmills 154

Fig. 150.

Larger mills can be made of stiffer paper, as bristol board, but the larger sizes will need more anchorage. The wheel will need an axle of wire and to secure it, a paper, perhaps several, will need to be pasted to the wheel and on the wire to prevent its flopping over. The wheels are made from a circular piece and are slitted from the circumference to near to the center and the sections are curved by drawing the paper over a pencil or similar object until the right curvature is obtained, Fig. 151. All the sections of a wheel are curved the same way but where there are more than one, part should turn to the right and the others to the left. The framework supporting the axle should reach across the opening and there should be a strip on each side as shown in Fig. 152.

Windmills 155Windmills 156

Fig. 152.

If the fans will not remain curved, a wire can he run around the outer edge, thus keeping the fans in place and at the proper angle. Other windmills are made with wooden axles that have little diagonal cuts to receive pieces of thin stiff cardboard as fans. These can usually be purchased, but they can also be made; Fig. 153, has one fan removed. Make a small block and with small saw, make little cuts on the diagonal and set the fans in with glue. Some make little windmills of aluminum, which are similar to the ones made of light cardboard. Windmills can be applied in many ways; for example, they may represent wheels on an automobile kite, Fig. 154, in which the tires are large and the windmill serves as the center of the wheel. When turning around it cannot be seen that the tire is not turning. Another wheel is shown at a in which small slanting fans are attached.

The most difficult part in making the auto kite is to keep it light and in poise. It will readily be seen that the automobile is a triangular box-kite. The hood of the engine should be open at both ends, with string across to represent screen. The hood instead of being a dead weight will have considerable lifting power, being part of a barrel kite. A framework is shown in Fig. 155. The top of the auto might be black or tan, the body red, black, grey, green or brown, the tires light tan, and the moving part of the wheels light yellow.

The steamboat kite, Figs. 156 and 157, is another application of the moving wheel but this construction is simpler and the attachment of wheel is better. In this model a part of the wheel is shielded from the breeze, so the uneven pressure causes it to revolve. This is a very feasible and interesting problem. Fig. 158 shows a kite with a wagging head above it. When we understand this device, we should be able to plan many others. The windmill is set in the open part of the kite. Two cross-sticks are used so it is quite easy to attach a vertical piece to the two for support of the aluminum wheel. A little hub has a groove in it that a cord belt runs in, and from that to another grooved wheel to the back of the kite Fig. 159. A lath nail cut off for a small crank pin, j, is located near the outer edge of this grooved wheel. A vertical lever, h, with axis at i, has an elongated hole at the lower end that works over the crank-pin and as k revolves, the lever operates from side to side. The hole must be long enough for the crank-pin to reach its highest and lowest point easily. The elongated hole can be effected by extending a wire loop down from the end of the vertical lever to work on the crank-pin. The wire should be lashed with linen thread to the vertical lever and coated over with glue. An object can be used on the upper end, such as a head, a flag, etc. In the same manner, hands and feet may be extended and withdrawn, a turtle might be made to draw in head and feet and many other interesting operations, but in all of these the machinery must work easily, must not lop over against anything else and above all we must remember not to load down our kite with weight or overbalance it with undue leverage at any part of the kite.

Windmills 157

Fig. 153.

Windmills 158Windmills 159

Figs. 154, 155.

Windmills 160Windmills 161

Figs. 156, 157.

Windmills 162

Fig. 158.

Another way of attaching to windmill is to make the wire axle long enough to pass thru and at the back bend into a crank, Fig. 160.

Windmills 163

Fig. 159.

Windmills 164

Fig. 160.

Windmills 165

Fig. 161.

The lever h would work direct on this crank as it does on the crank-pin in the device with the second grooved pulley, k, Fig. 159. To make the head go up and down, use a round hole instead of the elongated ones in the vertical shaft. A loop of wire, Fig. 161, should hold the upper part of the vertical lever in place, and in case of the head bobbing up and down, the lever is not attached at i, Fig. 159, but the loop, Fig. 161, must not be omitted.

Other Devices

But windmills are not the only means of operating moving parts of a kite. An extra line to the ground will give opportunity to the kite flyer to open and shut eyes and mouth and move ears at will. Ears could be made to grow a foot and then be drawn back by light elastic bands. The mouth might open and a red tongue run out, or a pocket in the mouth might be turned inside out, thus releasing a shower of bits of paper, white, colored, gilt, and silver. Let the imagination play for a time, then set the inventive machinery of the brain to work and "watch us grow."