Stix and dating

(I had met her only two weeks before.) The kite flew reasonably well, if a little wildly.

In looking back from 40 years of further experience, I'd say that the wind was a little strong that day for this kind of kite, and caused it to crash.

However, something intriguing was also included with the kit: Instructions for building an unusual sort of kite using D-Stix as a frame and tissue paper for the sails.

On a folded piece of paper in the kit was a template for cutting out the sails.

All you needed to do was cut sails from sheets of paper using the template, and then glue or tape the sails to the D-Stix frame.

The summer I turned 17 I built the D-Stix tetrahedral kite, and in August I asked my new girlfriend Carol to go out and fly it with me.

I made models of the more interesting regular solids, including the tetrahedron, octahedron, and dodecahedron. However, I soon discovered that over at the American Science Center store at Nagle and Northwest Highway in Chicago, they sold a very neat geometry-oriented construction set called D-Stix.

The set consisted of a large number of 1/8” thick wooden sticks dyed various colors, and a collection of soft plastic connectors into which you could insert the sticks.

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Worse, the black rubber connectors are fragile and tear easily, and do not grip even wooden sticks as well as the older yellow plastic connectors do.

The kite shown above was made with 36" hardwood dowels.

The dowels forming the 4 outer edges were 1/4" in diameter. The kite was a little heavy, but it flew well with a tail.

The ones dating from the 1960s used dyed wooden sticks and yellow plastic connectors. Later kits (dating to the mid-1970s) used colored plastic sticks and black rubber connectors.

I bought a set of the plastic/rubber D-Stix on e Bay in 2007 and found them, well, awful.

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