Posted on Oct. 01, 1999 by CPO in Latest Stamps
The kite ­ graceful flight through nature's power ­ is the subject of four new postage-stamp designs released by Canada Post in time for Stamp Month.To be cancelled on October 1, 1999 at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, the stamps will be available in self-adhesive booklets of eight."I wanted this set to evoke the beauty of a kite festival, where the skies are literally filled with kites," says designer Debbie Adams who, with these four striking stamps, has once again taken postage-stamp design to a new level. The irregular shapes of three of the four stamps in the set ­ an ellipse, a triangle and a four-unequal-sided shape ­ are yet another of Adams' design innovations that include a holographic stamp commemorating Canada's achievements in space. It is of particular note that each of the four self-adhesive stamps features different simulated perforations."I like to try something different with each new stamp," says Adams. "For the kites set, it seemed only natural to be experimenting with the shape of the stamps."

A Brief History of Kites

Through 2000 years of development, kites have taken many forms and have been used for many purposes. Originally flown by the Chinese for military, religious and ceremonial purposes as well as for sport, they were the world's first airborne craft. For many, history's most memorable image of the kite is the moment in 1752 when Benjamin Franklin hung a key from a kite line during a storm to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning. Many persons have subsequently been killed trying to replicate this experiment. Less familiar perhaps are the scientific breakthroughs made in Canada with the aid of kites. In 1901, the first wireless message to cross the Atlantic Ocean was received by Guglielmo Marconi. He used a kite to lift an antenna 110 metres above Signal Hill at St. John's, Newfoundland. In December, 1907, Alexander Graham Bell used a tetrahedral kite towed behind a boat near Baddeck, Nova Scotia, to lift a man 51 metres above the water for some seven minutes. Later Bell founded the Aerial Experiment Association. His experiments with kites led ultimately to the first powered flight in Canada and the British Empire.

Four Kites, Four Stamps, Four Shapes.
The images of the four kites in this special Stamp-Month release represent four distinct and celebrated kite designs.

Master Control ­ Sport Kite
Liam Hoac's Master Control sport kite is especially suited to choreographic flying competitions. Similar models pull skiers, surfboarders and cyclists.

Gibson Girl ­ Box Kite

The Gibson Girl kite was originally designed for military applications. The kite enabled downed pilots to lift radio antennas for emergency transmissions.

Dragon Centipede Kite
Designed by Zhang Tian Wei, the dragon centipede kite is a fine example of how the Chinese combine art and science to create kites that are powerful, flexible, lightweight and graceful.

Indian Garden Flying Carpet ­ Edo Kite
Designed by Toronto kite artist Skye Morrison, this kite is conceived in the great tradition of the Japanese Edo kite. True kite enthusiasts will admire the booklet containing the four-stamp set, as it features illustrations of eight additional kites. There are two indian kites, a hand-painted kite by Robert Trépanier, a patchwork quad-line kite by Don Brownridge, an asymmetrical bee kite by Satoshi Hashimoto, a fish Edo kite by Teizo Hashimoto, Genesis, a kite by Adrian Conn and a Canadian flag tetrahedral kite by Eric Brackenbury. Photography for the booklet was by Tom Feiler and Don Brownridge. Feiler has worked on numerous editorial assignments for publications, and is known for the gritty reality of his documentary photography ­ an approach he brings to his commercial photography as well. Don Brownridge, himself an avid kite-flyer, not only contributed his photography to the series but also designed one of the featured kites.

Stamp Specifications

  • Denomination: 4 x 46¢
  • Design: Debbie Adams
  • Dimensions: Fits within rectangles of 40 mm x 30 mm / 40 mm x 34 mm / 40 mm x 27 mm /40 mm x 26 mm
  • Gum Type: Pressure sensitive
  • Perforations: Simulated perforation
  • Photography: Tom Feiler, Don Brownridge
  • Printer: Ashton Potter
  • Printing Process: Lithography (five colours)
  • Tagging: General, all sides
  • Quantity: 16,000,000
  • : JAC
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