The Tetrahedral Kites of Alexander Graham Bell

Tue, Nov 13, 2018 12am - Tue, Dec 11, 2018 11:59am

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Bell, Alexander Graham. Journal by Alexander Graham Bell, from January 2, 1903 to August 26, 1904. June 18, 1903. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Bell, Alexander Graham. Journal by Alexander Graham Bell, from January 2, 1903 to August 26, 1904. June 18, 1903. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Third Floor Hallway Gallery – Foundation Building
Open to Students, Faculty, and Staff

This exhibition provides a brief visual survey of the tetrahedral kites developed by Alexander Graham Bell at the turn of the 20th century. At Beinn Bhreagh, his estate in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Bell guided a team of skilled engineers and fabricators as they systematically probed and documented the performance of a diverse, imaginative array of kite designs. While Bell’s work resulted in technical innovations that advanced early aviation, his massive kites and aerodromes were unsuccessful in powered flight. Their development, however, led to Bell’s discovery of tetrahedral trusses and space frames decades before their widespread adoption by architects and engineers.

Curated by Chris Dierks

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture
The Cooper Union

Located at 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.