A.Andrews. The Flying Machine: Its Evolution through the Ages (Putnam)
Again over a parallel period, from 1882 until 1906, but isolated in distant Australia, Lawrence Hargrave had been working and lecturing on aeronautics in New South Wales. He, too, began by building rubber-driven models, and was for many years becalmed in the back-waters of the world of flapping ornithopters. But he was then ‘converted’ to steam, and in a further stretch of imagination began to research the aerodynamics of kites. He invented the box-kite, and made a kite-train strong enough to lift him off the ground. He began to design a man-carrying box-kite to be powered by a steam engine. Hargrave’s box-kites unquestionably demonstrated longitudinal, lateral and directional stability, but he never developed the right power unit to raise them. After many years of experiment, during which he designed some 25 engines without having one take him off the ground, he decided that his finances would no longer allow him to continue full-time experimentation, and he erased himself from the record books. His work, however, was widely known and its influence was considerable. A Hargrave box-kite in tandem became the new characteristic configuration of a whole stream of biplanes in Europe, and the shape was visible in the first heavier-than-air machine to fly under power east of the Atlantic, in 1906, the year in which poor Hargrave dropped out of aeronautics. Although Hargrave’s great ambition had been to fly under power, and the later machines he was designing were box-kite aeroplanes, the first full-size machine he built, in 1894, was a tandem-wing monoplane glider. It is a fair certainty that Hargrave, who even from Australia kept a very keen eye on aeronautical events in the rest of the world, built a glider because he had seen in 1894 a very widely published set of photographs of a man gliding.