Very rare original vintage 4.75 x 3.75 photo, taken by either Orville or Lorin Wright, of a glider in the air at Kill Devil Hills in October of 1902. Reverse of the photo is notated in fountain pen by Wilbur Wright, “October 18th E. Slope #2 Hill.” The negative to this photo was developed in the Wright’s darkroom in the small building in the backyard of their Dayton home. In fine condition, with one missing corner tip and some scattered light soiling to reverse.
Hoping to improve upon their 1900 and 1901 Gliders, the Wright brothers spent significant time redesigning and testing their 1902 model. Discovering the best use of the movable vertical rudder—not to change the direction of flight, but to aim or align the aircraft during banking turns and when leveling off—and developing the technique of wing-warping to actually turn the glider, the brothers finally gained full control of their craft on October 8, 1902. They continued testing, performing hundreds of well-controlled glides over the course of two months (the longest lasting 26 seconds and covering over 600 feet). This photograph, capturing the glider in air just ten days after their milestone success, shows an important piece of the long series of trials and changes that convinced them they were ready to take the next step: adding power. Printed in their private darkroom in Dayton, Ohio to avoid leaking information of their designs, any Wright photo from this period is incredibly scarce; oriented with a hand-written note from Wilbur on the back, this one is simply astonishing! Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
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