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Item 358 - Orville Wright Catalog 443 (Dec 2014)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $300.00
Sold Price: $15,303.93 (includes buyer's premium)


Partial TLS signed for both by Orville, “Wilbur & Orville Wright, O. W.,” one page, 8.5 x 11, Wright Cycle Company letterhead, [October 9, 1905]. The concluding page of a two-page letter to Captain Ferdinand Ferber, beginning amidst a description of their flight of October 5, 1905. In part “…distance of over 39 kilometers. Landing was caused by the exhaustion of the supply of fuel. An oil cup cured the trouble with the bearing which had terminated the previous flights. Witnesses to these flights have become so enthusiastic that they have been unable to hold their tongues, and as a result our experiments have become so public that we are compelled to discontinue them for the present, or at least until we find a less public place to carry them on. The past several years have been given almost entirely to the development of our flyer, and but little time has been given to the consideration of what we would do with it when we had it perfected. But it is our present intention to first offer it to the governments for war purposes…We are prepared to furnish machines on contract, to be accepted only after trial trips of at least 40 kilometers, the machine to carry an operator and supplies of fuel etc…We are also ready to construct machines carrying more than one man.”

Also includes the unsigned first page of a letter from the Wrights to Ferber from one month later, also with exceptional aviation content, congratulating him on his own successes in manned flight. In part: “Perhaps no one in the world can appreciate the greatness of your performance so fully as ourselves. It is indeed a great step to have passed from the gliding machine, to…mastery of the unruly motor machines…France is indeed fortunate in finding a Ferber…we do not believe that your success will decrease the value of our own discoveries…With Russia and Austria-Hungary in their present troubled condition…a spark may produce an explosion at any minute. No government dare take the risk of waiting to develop practical flying machines.” In fine condition, with intersecting folds, light edge toning, and one small edge tear. Ferber was an officer in the French Army who—despite the fact that his own attempts at building aircraft were largely unsuccessful—proved to be a major influence in the development of aviation in France by publicizing the work of the Wright Brothers and raising public interest in manned flight. Ferber had written to the Wrights in May of 1905 to request details about purchasing one of their machines; still conducting tests on the flyer at that time, they were not yet prepared to discuss their plans for production and sales. At the time of this letter just five months later, the brothers were beginning negotiations with the United States, British, and French governments regarding a contract for military airplanes. An incredible letter from a supremely important time in the history of flight. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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