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Item 13 - Wright Brothers Catalog 409 (May 2013)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Sold Price: $45,049.20 (includes buyer's premium)


An incredibly significant and most likely one-of-a-kind collection of diagrams done by Orville and Wilbur Wright during the instruction of one of their French pilots, Paul Tissandier. Four pencil sketches done by Wilbur on both sides of a 12 x 17.5 off-white sheet of graph-like paper, labeled by Tissandier, “fait par Wilbur Wright,” (done by Wilbur Wright), one depicting a stick figure posed by a basic wing, headed by Tissandier, in French, “Map of the area where Kitty Hawk was, where he had his first experiences,” a captioned map of the airstrip in Dayton, and several quick sketches of a wing in profile, headed again by Tissandier, in French, loosely translated, “Graph of the lift-generating force of surfaces at different incidences.” On another sheet of similar graph paper, 4.5 x 7, Orville has sketched a plan of the Dayton aerodrome, captioned in French by Tissandier, “Sketch of the tests that Wilbur and Orville made to find out the best for the uprights of the machine, sketch made at my home by Orville Wright in December 1910,” and signed at the conclusion by Tissandier. A central horizontal hinge to larger sheet, as well as some small edge tears and creases, otherwise fine condition.

In the middle of one of the pages is Wilbur’s well-done overhead view of Kill Devil Hills on the coastline where the brothers experimented for three years up to their successful, history-making flight on December 17, 1903. A drawing very similar to this was included as a frontispiece of Fred Kelly’s Miracle at Kitty Hawk. Further research provided by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum indicates the airfield diagram done by Wilbur is of the Huffman Prarie flying field where the Wrights flew in 1904–5 and eventually established their flying school in 1910. The railroad tracks at the top are the Dayton, Springfield, Urbana interurban line, and the two intersecting roads are still there today. The entire area is now part of Area A of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The remaining sketches are marvelous examples of the brothers’ understanding of aeronautics detailing wing construction and what appear to be flight patterns based upon design. While letters of instruction from the brothers are offered occasionally, actual diagrams are virtually non-existant. An incredibly rare first-hand example from the inventors of modern flight, including an image from their first successful flight. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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