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Item 12 - Wilbur Wright Catalog 409 (May 2013)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Sold Price: $40,045.20 (includes buyer's premium)


Incredibly rare and highly important ALS, four pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 6.25, personal letterhead, June 6, 1909. Letter to Paul Tissandier in response to his letter sent to Wilbur on May 18, 1909. In full: “We were very glad to receive your nice letter, and to know that you are having such good success with your flying work. I notice that you say that you are still using the old machine, though it is almost worn out. I was told that the machine which was erected at Paris under the direction of my brother, was sent to Pau and used there instead of the old one. Was not this done? If not, where was it sent? Who has it now? You ought to have a good machine for teaching purposes. Then you could stay in the air with your pupil about 20 minutes each time, and teach them in less than ten lessons. It is not well to make the lessons too short, since too large a portion of the good part of the day is consumed in returning to the track and getting started again. Before you permit a pupil to fly alone be very sure to caution him to rise not higher than three or four meters from the ground. They should rise higher only after they have learned to land safely from any height with the motor stopped. Since we have arrived home we have been very busy at work on a new machine to use at Ft. Myer. We hope Orville will begin flying there about the 20th of June, but we may be delayed a few days. We have never had any doubts but that you would do good work on the flyer, and your long flights have not been surprising to us. No doubt, before the year ends, you will be recordman of the world! We wish you continued success.” In fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed in Wilbur’s hand.

In the summer of 1908, while his brother Orville was busy convincing the American authorities of the reliability of their flying machine, Wilbur was busy teaching three French pilots, a stipulation of their European investors, one of whom was Tissandier. Wilbur began instructing the three pilots in the fall of 1908, with the training picking up in earnest in Pau early the following year. On May 18, 1909, Tissandier had written to Wilbur that "I am now French recordman. I have turn round during 1 hour and four minutes and have made sixty kilometers,” and explained that he was still using the "old flyer which is at this time a little worn out," that he had a new engine, that he was struggling with carrying a passenger and with piloting the Flyer from Wright's seat, and that all the “merit” for the records should go to the Flyer and the brothers. Tissandier was later the first person after the Wright brothers to fly for more than an hour. At the same time in Fort Myer, Orville was working on an aircraft for the Army Signal Corps which could carry two people, fly at 40 miles per hour, and be able to remain in the air for at least an hour. After a major setback in September in 1908 which killed observer Thomas Selfridge and severely injured Orville, with final delivery of an improved Signal Air Corps. Airplane No. 1 in August of 1909. An unbelievably desirable letter representing everything one would look for: scarcity, the mention of their “machine” and flying, as well as the important work of his brother. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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