TWK Clarke Glider
In 1910 TWK Clarke and Co., a Kingston-on-Thames manufacturer of aircraft, accessories and flying models, produced a range of four biplane gliders. This machine, based on a configuration evolved by the American pioneer Octave Chanute, was the third largest of the range and resembled the Wright brothers' aircraft in general construction. It could be bought as a kit for 10 guineas (£10.50) or completely assembled and covered for £34.
The machine was flown as a hang-glider with the pilot resting his armpits on the padded cushions, while the two control levers, connected in unison, operated the rudder when moved from side to side and the one-piece elevator when moved backwards or forwards. Banking in turns was achieved by the pilot swinging his body and legs towards the inside of the anticipated turn.
Gliding and hang-gliding are now popular leisure pastimes, but at the time T.W.K. Clarke built this glider, powered and controlled flight had yet take place. Gliders were used by many pioneers to perfect their skill at flying and also the machines they were building.