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The History of Grandmaster Kites

The beginning

grandmaster kite gif Grandmaster Kites was the brainchild of the late James Lambrakis, who developed the design for the kite in the 1970's. He and his partner, graphic designer Merry-Jo McKinnon, made the kites as a hobby until they became so popular the two could no longer keep up with the demand. Realizing the need for expansion, they entered into an initial trade agreement with a company in Tianjin, The Peoples Republic of China, for the import of 1,000 kites. By 1980 he and Miss McKinnon were importing 20,000 kites. The Grandmaster kites sold today were made in the city of Tianjin. Each kite is twenty years old and an authentic piece of art, having been assembled and painted in 1979. The tail of each Grandmaster kite bears the written name of the kite maker and the kite painter. It is interesting to note that the makers and the painters of these kites are women. Following the death of Mr. Lambrakis in 1986, the Grandmaster Kite Company passed to Joe Vaughan, a longtime admirer of the kite and its superb performance.


Dr. Joe Vaughan, Professor Emeritus, Biology and Health Sciences, rediscovered the fun and art of kites and kite flying on excursions to the seaside as a Marine biologist. This rekindling of interest developed into a passion, and in 1976 he opened a summer kite shop in Chincoteague, Virginia. Three summers on the Virginia coast turned him into an accomplished stunt kite flier, and he began to specialize in flying single-line-maneuverable kites in the manner of the ancient traditional fighter kite fliers of India. Grandmaster Kites are the descendants of the Indian fighter kites, but rather than engage in kite combat, which involved the use of dangerous cutting line, his Grandmaster kites are flown as dancing kites, indoors or out. Today Joe continues to introduce people around the world to the joys of flying dancing/fighter kites.

Joe Vaughan jpg



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