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In 1894, on this day – the 12th of November – Lawrence Hargrave proved that it was possible for man to fly.
The inventor was born in England in 1850, but emigrated to Australia when he was in his mid-teens. He undertook an engineering apprenticeship in Sydney, experimented with aerodynamic studies including flying machines and invented the box kite in 1893.
This remarkable feat was done by linking four of his kites together and adding a sling seat. On a beach near Wollongong, New South Wales, he flew about five metres in the air. It proved that men could design and built a safe and stable flying machine.
This at the time radical design for a wing that could support more than its own weight inspired other inventors to develop the design for commercial purposes, but because he never patented his designs, he did not get the credit he deserved.