Kite flying has been known since ancient times in Chinese history. Chinese and Japanese kitemakers are known for their very elaborately painted kites, many of which are very simple in mechanical design. Ancient Oriental kites were typically rectangular and of bamboo and paper construction. Elaborate designs were often painted on the kites, most often depicting dragons.
Kites have been used by military personnel and scientists throughout recent history to conduct experiments. The most notable is Benjamin Franklin's electricity--producing Kite experiement. Naval personnel would launch a kite from ship to carry atmospheric measuring instruments for taking readings.