Excessively rare 5.5 x 3.5 postcard with a small swatch of wing fabric from the 1900 Wright Glider affixed to the reverse, as well as a sample of sand from Kill Devil Hill, identified with handwritten labels by William J. Tate, “Fabric Wright Bros 1900 glider” and “Sand from Kill Devil Hill,” and signed “W. J. Tate.” The card features an attractive color image of the Wright Memorial Beacon and is postmarked Kitty Hawk, May 19, 1938. In fine condition, with some adhesive remnants to the reverse.
William J. Tate was a local resident who let Wilbur Wright stay in his home upon his arrival in Kitty Hawk, and he helped the Wrights assemble a series of gliders as they worked toward achieving powered flight. The Wright Brothers’ 1900 glider was their first capable of carrying a man and it utilized a single layer of French sateen fabric to cover the framework, and the fabric covering the wing components was given to Tate when they abandoned the project for a new design. Accompanied by a copy of a letter from Tate to Peter Sutherland, who founded the William J. Tate Aero Club, in part: "I intend not only to comply with your wishes as to a scrap of the coverings of the first 1900 glider for the club but I intend to send every one of the seven charter members a personal souvenir. Here is what I intend to send them. A post card of the Wright Memorial…with a piece of that first 1900 glider wing coverings glued to it, also sand glued to the card that will be taken from the spot where the 1903 airplane…started along the ground." Material related to the first glider is immensely rare—few photographs of it are even known to exist—and the significance of this piece as a flown artifact from the Wrights’ very first manned flight cannot be overstated. RR Auction COA.
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