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Item 3018 - Alexander Graham Bell and The Aerial Experiment Association Photograph Collection Catalog 536 (Sep 2018)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Sold Price: $10,000.00 (includes buyer's premium)

Description


Significant collection of 25 vintage silver gelatin prints portraying Alexander Graham Bell and his fellow members of the Aerial Experiment Association (including Glenn Curtiss, Frederick Walker Baldwin, J. A. Douglas McCurdy, Thomas Selfridge, and others) along with their aerodrome aircraft, ranging in size from 3.75 x 3 to 6.5 x 4.75. After experimenting with tetrahedral kites since 1898, Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel Gardiner Bell decided to form the Aerial Experiment Association (AEA). The AEA was officially founded at the Halifax Hotel in Nova Scotia on October 1, 1907, its purpose being to construct ‘a practical flying aerodrome or flying machine driven through the air by its own power and carrying a man.’ The experiments started near Bell’s home at Beinn Bhreagh, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia. In February 1908, the AEA moved to Hammondsport, New York, a village on the south end of Keuka Lake, one of the state’s so-called ‘Finger Lakes.’ Key members of the association individually contributed to the designs of the ‘aerodromes’—the most successful of which may have been Glenn H. Curtiss’s June Bug, which won the Scientific American Cup, the first aeronautical prize awarded in the United States, for making a public flight of over one kilometer on July 4, 1908.

The subjects of the photographs are:
1. The members of the Aerial Experiment Association at a flying field at Rheims, near Hammondsport, NY, showing T. S. Baldwin, F. W. Baldwin, J. Newton Williams, J. A. Douglas McCurdy, Thomas Selfridge, Alexander Graham Bell, William F. Bedwin, and Glenn H. Curtiss
2. Drome No. 1: Selfridge’s Red Wing
3. Drome No. 1: Selfridge’s Red Wing
4. Drome No. 1: Selfridge’s Red Wing on the ice on Lake Keuka on March 9, 1908
5. Drome No. 2: Baldwin’s White Wing on the ground at a race track near Hammondsport, May 1908
6. Drome No. 2: Baldwin’s White Wing cockpit close-up
7. Drome No. 2: Baldwin’s White Wing taking off
8. Drome No. 2: Baldwin’s White Wing in flight
9. Drome Engine close-up
10. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug with Glenn Curtiss in cockpit
11. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug on ground
12. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug on ground
13. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug on ground
14. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug in flight at Hammondsport, July 4, 1908, winning the Scientific American Cup awarded by the Aero Club of America
15. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug in flight at Hammondsport, July 4, 1908, winning the Scientific American Cup awarded by the Aero Club of America
16. Drome No. 3: Curtiss’s June Bug flown by McCurdy at Hammondsport, July 27, 1908
17. Drome No. 3A: Curtiss’s June Bug (now called ‘The Loon’) on pontoons on the water at Lake Keuka
18. Drome No. 3A: Curtiss’s June Bug (now called ‘The Loon’) on pontoons at Lake Keuka
19. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart at Hammondsport, November 3, 1908
20. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart at Hammondsport, November 3, 1908
21. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart on ground
22. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart cockpit close-up at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, February 1909
23. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart on snow at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, February 1909
24. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart on snow at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, February 1909
25. Drome No. 4: McCurdy’s Silver Dart on ice at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, February 1909

Also includes: two later cardstock photos signed in blue ink by J. A. Douglas McCurdy; as well as an extremely rare souvenir volume of 31 enlarged photographs illustrating the work of the Aerial Experiment Association, issued on April 12, 1909, marked “A. W. McCurdy” on the front. The paperback brad-bound volume has an eight-page typewritten appendix at the front. When the AEA was disbanded in 1909, this souvenir volume was offered to all the surviving members: Mabel Gardiner Bell, Alexander Graham Bell, Glenn Curtiss, J. A. Douglas McCurdy, and F. W. Baldwin—it is likely that only four or five volumes were ever published. In addition to the AEA's aerodromes, the volume notably depicts and discusses Alexander Graham Bell's "Kite Cygnet I" and "Cygnet II," which had extremely unorthodox designs using tetrahedral cells as wings—Graham Bell first tested the design as a kite, and then built a powered version as the AEA's 'Drome No. 5.' In overall fine condition. Provenance: Thomas G. Foxworth Aeronautical Collection.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.


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