Cabinet card of Samuel Franklin Cody.
Samuel Franklin Cody (1867-1913) was an American showman, aviator, and inventor. Born in Iowa, Cody claimed that he spent his early years living life as a cowboy, training horses, and hunting for buffalo, although not much is actually known about his time in Iowa. Cody also claimed to have spent some time prospecting for gold before he moved to Europe in 1890 to tour as a Wild West Showman, appearing in music halls with trick shooting and fancy rope acts. He also performed in Wild West melodramas, including the famous play The Klondyke Nugget, which proved to be very popular. The success that Cody achieved in the theater provided him with the money he needed to pursue his deep interest in kite flying. During the start of the Boer War, Cody came up with the idea that his kites could be used as an alternative to balloons for military observation purposes, and within three years, he started receiving short term contracts as the Army's official Kite Instructor. The Famous War Kite, one of Cody's many inventions, was a large kite that was used in World War I as a smaller alternative to balloons for artillery spotting (Information obtained from sfcody.org.uk, October 12, 2011.)
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