"Gibson Girl" Rescue kite

May 2002

The World War II "Gibson Girl" kite was part of a kit placed in life rafts in the hopes that downed airmen could use it to raise an antenna and call for help. This fine example was found by Mike McMullen at a North Carolina antique show. There's more of Mike's collection on this website.

Gibson Girl, courtesy of Detlef Griese The entire kit fits in a yellow bag containing:

  • a metal-frame box kite that folds up like an umbrella
  • a radio, with wire antenna to be attached to the kite
  • two spools of spare wire
  • a balloon, for use without wind
  • a can containing some sort of hygrogen generator for filling it
  • the two metal tubes may be used in the inflation process
  • some sort of wrench
  • a strobe light (not present in this kit).
The name is derived from comparing the radio to the hour-glass figures of 1890's fashion artist Charles Gibson's subjects.

For more information visit: Aerohistory: Kite/Cerf-volant and Louis Meulstee's Wireless for the warrior.

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