Samuel Franklin Cody

Samuel Franklin Cody

As well as being one of the early pioneers of aviation Cody is also remembered as being a flamboyant wild west showman

There is even a high street shop named after him called S.F.Cody. Appropriately this chain of stores sells novel gadgets, toys, gifts and ingenious electrical products. Perhaps this is one of the best ways of honoring such an important figure of the last century.

There is even a Cody Society. ''It actively promotes the education of young people in the topic of aerospace and learning about this first man to fly a powered aeroplane in the UK. This objective aims to foster the interest of young people in the aerospace industry and encourage their entry and future careers in this important area of business''. Quote taken from the cody Society.

Cody was born in the state of Iowa in the United States of America in 1867. Throughout his youth he lived the typical life of a cowboy. He learnt how to ride and train horses, hunt buffalo, shoot and use a lasso. Cody lived until 1913 when he died in an aircrash.

Cody experienced real hardship throughout his youth during which time he prospected for gold in an area which later became Dawson City. This was the centre of the historically famous Alaskan Gold Rush.

Unfortunately like so many Cody made no strike but instead toured America with a Wild West show. He starred in the show and was billed as 'Captain Cody, King of the Cowboys'. Cody decided to take the show to England and settled there in 1890.

Whilst in England Cody and his company toured the music halls, which were very popular at the time. He give demonstrations of his horse riding, shooting and lassoing skills.

Many people believed that they were actually watching the great William Fredrick Cody alias ' Buffalo Bill'. Samuel Cody dressed in a very similar way to his hero, he wore a stetson, buckskins and cowboy boots. He even grew a beard, moustache and shoulder length hair.

In 1898 Cody's latest show called 'The Klondyke Nugget' became very successful. It was around this time that Cody's son Leon became very interested in kites. Cody also began to share his son's fascination with kites and the two of them competed to make the largest kites capable of flying at ever increasing heights.

After a great deal of experimentation, financed by his popular show Cody patented his first kite in 1901. It was a winged variation of Lawrence Hargrave's double-cell box kite below.

The Cody kite was so large that it was capable of lifting men. He gave a demonstration to the War Office in December 1901. Cody believed that his kite could be used for military purposes.