Original MBK Dowel Diamond
Original MBK Dowel Diamond
Unlike the historical Eddy, most retail Diamonds these days are tailed. Most also have some dihedral or bow in the horizontal spar. This greatly helps stability and enables the use of shorter tails.
This little list sums up the history of the Eddy...
- Invented by William A. Eddy in the 1890s, and inspired by ancient Javanese bowed kites. More commonly known as the 'Malay'.
- Diamond shaped, as already mentioned, using spruce spars.
- Sail edges attached to wire perimeter lines.
- Bowed horizontal spar, attached to the vertical spar 19% of the way down from the nose.
- Loose-fitting cotton sail which billowed at the tail end, forming a small keel.
- No tail. Very handy for kite trains, since tails tend to get wrapped around the flying line!
- 2-point bridle, one point being where the spars cross, the other at the extreme tail end.
When the weather's good and you have the time, it's great to get out with a kite or 3. But what about on bad weather days? Then it's time to pull out...
"Kites Up!" - my downloadable kite-flying board game! Apart from towing indoor kites, doing a spot of imaginary flying is the next best thing :-)
Our MBK Dowel Series of kites are all tail-less, like the Eddy-inspired Dowel Diamond. That's an old version of it in the first photo on this page.
However, we have made some minor changes in a later version. They both fly beautifully in very light wind.
I remember on one occasion in the late afternoon, this kite floated right up to 400 feet, going almost overhead. At the time, there was barely a breath of wind at ground level!
In case you are curious about Eddy himself, here's a few interesting details...
His full name was William A. Eddy.
- He was from New Jersey, U.S.A., and worked as a journalist
- Eddy developed his efficient, stable, diamond-shaped kite in the 1890's.
- He began his kite flying with the classic American Barn-Door design. Hexagonal kites that sometimes had a coffin-like shape.
- Eddy was inspired by the tail-less bowed Malay design, since his kite-trains kept getting into trouble with tangled tails!
- Eddy was famous for his kite-powered aerial photography and also meteorological experiments. These were carried out at Blue Hill Observatory, near Boston, U.S.A.
In some circles, the term Eddy is used more loosely to mean just about any kind of Diamond kite. I first became aware of this when a European blogger featured my 1-Skewer Diamond design in a post. A 'little Eddy' he called it!
MBK Dowel Diamond
MBK Dowel Diamond
Why Make An Eddy Kite?
For a start, you won't find many truly Eddy-like designs in the shops. Tailed Diamonds are the closest thing offered both on and off-line. However, a good reason to make one is that the design is quite easy to build, and results in a stable, efficient kite.
For some additional fun, you can stack these kites together along one long flying line. An Eddy is a great light-to-moderate wind flier.
The Eddy kite was the inspiration for my original Dowel Diamond design,
which you can see in the first photo on this page. It's hard to spot in the photo but it had a 2-leg bridle.
From a distance, the Dowel Diamond and
the Eddy look very similar, but there are in fact a few
differences. The Dowel kite has a plastic
sail and tape edging. It's shape is quite close to Eddy's original,
although the overall size is somewhat smaller. Some of the originals
were almost 3 meters (9 feet) in height!
It's relaxing seeing the Dowel Diamond hang up there in a light
breeze. Having a 3-leg bridle, my most recent version doesn't waggle its wing tips like an Eddy
kite would do. See the photo and video below. With a sliding knot on the bridle,
it can be adjusted toward the nose a little if the breeze is stronger
and threatening to over-power the kite. The 1.2 meter span sail
generates a decent pull, and can keep the line fairly straight even with
over 100 meters let out.
Modern Versions Of The Eddy Kite
It seems Eddy kites are everywhere. Some bowed, some made with
dihedral. People like to make them very colorful too, unlike yours truly
who has stuck with pale orange for 3 series of 8 kites each! Going
overboard with decoration can turn even an Eddy into a lumbering
fresh-wind kite though...
Sizes vary a lot too, with quite small versions being made for children and other enthusiasts tackling full 9-foot replicas of the original meteorological kites!
An interesting but simple variation of the Eddy kite is the
single-point bridle Diamond. The flying line simply attaches to where
the spars cross. The crossing-point is 25% from the nose rather than the
original 19% for these.
With sufficient bow and slightly slack sail
these kites can still fly tail-less, and therefore are perfect for
flying in a stack or train.
As mentioned earlier, there's another alternative to towing indoor kites if it's just not possible to fly outdoors...
"Kites Up!" is my downloadable board game. It's a PDF file which has all the documentation for the game plus images for all the components. Tokens, cards, the board itself and so on. Anyway, just click that link to see more info :-)