Lot 83: Wright, Orville. Highly important typed letter signed ("Wilbur and Orville Wright per O. Wright").

Profiles in History

July 11, 2014, 11:00 AM PST
Calabasas, CA, US
2 saved

More About this Item


Description:

83. Wright, Orville. Highly important typed letter signed (“Wilbur and Orville Wright per O. Wright”) (Orville signs for both brothers), 2 pages (11 x 8.5 in.; 279 x 216 mm.), Dayton, Ohio, 17 November 1905, to Carl Dienstbach, a New York City musician and the U.S. correspondent for the German journal “Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen,” on “Wright Cycle Company, 1127 West Third Street, Dayton, Ohio” letterhead stationery, with Orville’s handwritten postscript added at the end of the letter.

Orville Wright writes in full:
Dear Mr. Diensbach:- A good deal of doubt seems to exist in Europe as to whether there is any truth in the reports that have been made concerning our flights of 1903 and 1904; and it is not at all surprising, under the circumstances, since there has never been any account of any one having seen them, except the inventors themselves. There have been a number of witnesses to every flight we have made in the last three years. The flights near Kitty Hawk were seen by nearly all the men at the U.S. Kill Devil Life Saving Station, who were present, and by the Captain of the Kitty Hawk Station, who viewed the flights through a glass. The flights in 1904 were witnessed by the farmers on the surrounding farms, besides a number of citizens of Dayton, whom we had invited. Mr. A. I Root, of Medina, Ohio, was also present a number of times, and wrote an account of what he saw for his journal, ‘Gleanings in Bee Culture’, for January 1st, 1905.

The longer flights this year were witnessed by a number of citizens of Dayton, among whom were Mr. Torrence Huffman, President Fourth National Bank; Mr. C. S. Billman, Secretary West Side Building & Loan Company; and Mr. Edgar W. Ellis, Assistant Auditor of City of Dayton. If you or the Editor of your journal wish to make a personal investigation of the matter, we have no doubt any of these gentlemen would take pleasure corroborating the fact that they were present when flights of fifteen to twenty-four miles were made. We would not want their names published, as they would no doubt be flooded with inquiries. None of these gentlemen have any financial interest in our machine, either directly or indirectly. Respectfully yours, Wilbur and Orville Wright per O. Wright

We are sending you under separate cover copy of Gleaning of June 1st 1905 (postscript entirely in Orville Wright’s hand).

The first reports of the Wright brothers’ historic 17 December 1903 flight were grossly distorted in the European press, where pioneer aviators had been frantically trying to catch up with the Wrights’ accomplishments. In 1903, the Wright Brothers had made the first sustained powered flights. In 1904, a new aeroplane enabled them to accomplish turns and closed circuits. Then, in 1905, they exceeded the flying time of half an hour. The Wright brothers were at the forefront of aviation.

On Tuesday, 3 October 1905, Orville flew 15 miles around and around the field at Huffman Prairie, landing after 25 minutes. The next day, he flew for 33 minutes. Then, on the afternoon of 5 October 1905, Wilbur Wright took the controls and made a sensational record-breaking 24 1/5
mile, 38-minute flight at an average speed of 38 miles per hour. At first, witnesses to the flights at Huffman Prairie included only a few friends, Bishop Milton Wright, Lorin Wright and his family, and banker Torrence Huffman. Until the 3rd flight, the trials were held in absolute secrecy, attended only by invited guests (a few influential civil leaders and local merchants and businessmen). Each day after that, more witnesses appeared; Wilbur’s record-breaking flight was witnessed by at least fifteen individuals. Wilbur was able to identify only three of them by name. After a news item appeared in the Dayton Daily News on 5 October, there were so many men and women lining the fences at Huffman Prairie that flights had to be discontinued until the excitement died down.

The press had been kept in ignorance of the experiments at Huffman Prairie to avoid the extreme distortions of fact that followed the flights at Kill Devil Hills in 1903. After Wilbur’s record flight of 38 minutes, they decided to send out accounts of what they had accomplished in 1905. Three journalists were chosen to receive the Wright brothers’ announcement in the form of a letter sent on 17 November 1905: Georges Besanton, Editor of the French monthly “L’Aérophile”; Carl Dienstbach, New York representative of the German journal “Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen”; and Patrick Alexander, a member of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain.

The present letter is the actual letter the brothers sent to Dienstbach. It was printed in the February 1906 issue of Dienstbach’s German journal , with observations by the editor which questioned the credibility of the Wrights’ letter and informed readers that the Wright brothers had referred to Kaiser Wilhelm as a disturber of the peace in Europe. The attack came as a result of the publication in the French journal “L’Aérophile” (December, 1905) of two letters written by the Wrights to Captain Ferdinand Ferber. In one, a reference to Kaiser Wilhelm had been translated into French in such a way that it could be construed as an insult. As a result of the damning article in Dienstbach’s publication, the Wright brothers’ claims were widely disbelieved in Germany. In contrast, the claims were just as widely believed in England, where their letter had been read to the Aeronautical Society at the Society’s 15 December meeting in London. In France, where their letter was published in advance in the 30 November issue of “L’Auto,” a daily for sports fans published in Paris, the reaction was one of utter disbelief. The French had found it hard to believe that Wright had made four flights of less than a minute in 1903. Now, they found it even harder to believe that they were now making flights of more than half an hour in 1905.

Provenance: Christie’s, New York, 5 December 1991, lot140.

$15,000 - $25,000

Request more information

Payment

Accepted forms of payment: American Express, COD (cash on delivery), Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer
Shipping: For secure, convenient shipping, Profiles in History uses Federal Express exclusively for Domestic and International shipping, unless the buyer requests other arrangements in writing. Immediately after the sale, please contact our office for a shipping quote. Buyer is responsible for insuring their shipment. Shipping and handling charges will be added to your final invoice.
International Shipments: Buyer is responsible for all insurance, customs, import permits, taxes, duties and/or fees incurred with respect to their purchase. Shipping and handling charges will be added to your final invoice.
For those pieces that require special shipping and handling by a third-party shipper, the buyer is required to make all necessary arrangements for the transport of their purchase directly with the shipper.
Possession and Removal, Charges: No portion of any lot may be removed from the premises or possession transferred to Buyer unless Buyer has fully complied with these Conditions of Sale and the terms of the Online Registration, and unless and until Profiles has received the Purchase Price funds in full. Notwithstanding the above, all property must be removed from the premises by Buyer, at his or her sole expense, not later than seven (7) calendar days from the invoice date. If all or any property has not been so removed within that time, in addition to any other remedies available to Profiles all of which are reserved, a handling charge of one percent (1%) of the Purchase Price per month will be assessed and payable to Profiles by Buyer, with a minimum of five percent (5%) assessed and payable to Profiles by Buyer for any property not removed within sixty (60) days. Profiles shall additionally have the option, in its sole discretion, of transferring any of such property to a public warehouse at the full risk and expense of Buyer. Profiles, in addition, reserves the right to impose a late charge of fifteen percent (15%) per year on the Purchase Price if Buyer does not make full payment in accordance herewith. Profiles and Buyer acknowledge and agree that these charges are reasonably imposed to partially compensate Profiles for losses and expenses associated with any such delays.
Buyer's Premium
23.0%
From: To: Increment:
$0 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000+ $10,000
Buyer: BY EITHER REGISTERING TO BID OR PLACING A BID, THE BIDDER ACCEPTS THESE "CONDITIONS OF SALE" AND ENTERS INTO A LEGALLY, BINDING, AND ENFORCEABLE AGREEMENT WITH PROFILES IN HISTORY.

READ THIS BEFORE YOU BID: NO BID MAY BE PLACED IN ANY MANNER UNLESS THE BIDDER HAS FULLY REVIEWED AND AGREES TO ALL OF THE "CONDITIONS OF SALE" PRESENTED ON-LINE. BY PLACING ANY BID, THE BIDDER REPRESENTS AND WARRANTS TO PROFILES THAT HE OR SHE HAS FULLY REVIEWED AND AGREES TO BE BOUND BY ALL OF THE "CONDITIONS OF SALE" AND THE TERMS OF ON-LINE REGISTRATION. WITHOUT SUCH REPRESENTATION, WARRANTY AND AGREEMENT, PROFILES WOULD NOT PERMIT THE BIDDER TO BID.

AS SET FORTH IN THE "CONDITIONS OF SALE", FULL PAYMENT MUST BE RECEIVED BY PROFILES NO LATER THAN SEVEN (7) CALENDAR DAYS OF THE AUCTION OR WITHIN FIVE CALENDAR DAYS OF THE INVOICE DATE, WHICHEVER IS LATER. PURCHASE PRICE IS THE SUM OF FINAL BID AMOUNT PLUS BUYER'S PREMIUM (23% OF FINAL BID PRICE), PLUS APPLICABLE SALES TAXES AND SHIPPING. BID INCREMENTS ARE SET FORTH ABOVE.
Photographs, Illustrations and Screen Sh: Photographs, Illustrations and Screen Shots: Unless otherwise explicitly set forth in the catalog description for an individual item, all photographs, illustrations, and screen shots are furnished solely for reference purposes and not as a statement, representation or warranty that the image depicted is the exact item offered. Due to the fact that multiple props, costumes, and other items are customarily made for and used on or off screen in a motion picture or other program, Profiles cannot and does not represent or warrant that the specific item depicted in the photograph, illustration or screen shot is the very same item offered at auction.
Trademarks: In the catalog descriptions, Profiles takes steps to identify and provide provenance for an item offered at auction. In many cases, the items offered were used in or in conjunction with motion pictures or other programs and is furnished in order to fully identify and describe the item offered at auction, including photographs, illustrations, and screen shots. Profiles in no way claims any connection to or relationship with the producers of the motion picture or other program. In all cases, the use of the titles or other elements of a motion picture or other program is for informational purposes only.
Copyrights: Unless otherwise set forth with respect to an item offered, the item offered at auction is a one-of-a-kind original piece, and Profiles makes no statement, representation or warranty concerning the copyright of such item. Depiction of the item in the catalog and other auction promotions is purely for informational and reference purposes regarding the offering of the item at auction. Unless otherwise set forth with respect to an item offered, Profiles makes no statement, representation or warranty concerning the successful bidder's right to copy, reproduce or adapt for any purpose any item offered at auction.

Important note to prospective bidders and disclaimer: Please note that all items in this auction are sold in "as is" condition. We do our best to properly describe all materials herein, but normal wear and tear is common due to the fragile nature of the items including their age and use in film and TV productions. We are not responsible for a zipper not working, a piece missing from a prop, etc. Tears or alterations to the fabric or original design of a costume, or broken/missing pieces to a prop are to be expected. While many of the props, costumes and other memorabilia are currently displayable in their screen-used condition, these items may require some restoration to be returned to their pre-production state. Many of the items featured have been modified and altered for subsequent productions and may differ from the original production usage. The term "working prop" denotes that the prop was originally made to do something unlike a static prop. This does not mean that the prop works today, although in many circumstances it may be possible to have the prop restored to its original configuration.

We strongly encourage you to either preview the items before bidding, or call for a more specific condition report on items of interest.
Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping charges from Profiles in History's offices in Calabasas Hills, CA to the buyer's door. Items that are of unusual size and/or weight will require special handling and will incur an additional shipping premium as charged by the carrier. Please see Terms & Conditions of Sale.
Important Note: Important note to prospective bidders and disclaimer: Please note that all items in this auction are sold in "as is" condition. We do our best to properly describe all materials herein, but normal wear and tear is common due to the fragile nature of the items including their age and use in film and TV productions. We are not responsible for a zipper not working, a piece missing from a prop, etc. Tears or alterations to the fabric or original design of a costume, or broken/missing pieces to a prop are to be expected. While many of the props, costumes and other memorabilia are currently displayable in their screen-used condition, these items may require some restoration to be returned to their pre-production state. Many of the items featured have been modified and altered for subsequent productions and may differ from the original production usage. The term "working prop" denotes that the prop was originally made to do something unlike a static prop. This does not mean that the prop works today, although in many circumstances it may be possible to have the prop restored to its original configuration.
We strongly encourage you to either preview the items before bidding, or call for a more specific condition report on items of interest.
Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping charges from Profiles in History's offices in Calabasas Hills, CA to the buyer's door. Items that are of unusual size and/or weight will require special handling and will incur an additional shipping premium as charged by the carrier. Please see Terms & Conditions of Sale.
How will I receive my property?: For secure, convenient shipping, Profiles in History uses Federal Express exclusively for Domestic and International shipping, unless the buyer requests other arrangements in writing. Immediately after the sale, please contact our office for a shipping quote. Buyer is responsible for insuring their shipment. Shipping and handling charges will be added to your final invoice.
International Shipments: Buyer is responsible for all insurance, customs, import permits, taxes, duties and/or fees incurred with respect to their purchase. Shipping and handling charges will be added to your final invoice.
For those pieces that require special shipping and handling by a third-party shipper, the buyer is required to make all necessary arrangements for the transport of their purchase directly with the shipper.
Possession and Removal, Charges: No portion of any lot may be removed from the premises or possession transferred to Buyer unless Buyer has fully complied with these Conditions of Sale and the terms of the Online Registration, and unless and until Profiles has received the Purchase Price funds in full. Notwithstanding the above, all property must be removed from the premises by Buyer, at his or her sole expense, not later than seven (7) calendar days from the invoice date. If all or any property has not been so removed within that time, in addition to any other remedies available to Profiles all of which are reserved, a handling charge of one percent (1%) of the Purchase Price per month will be assessed and payable to Profiles by Buyer, with a minimum of five percent (5%) assessed and payable to Profiles by Buyer for any property not removed within sixty (60) days. Profiles shall additionally have the option, in its sole discretion, of transferring any of such property to a public warehouse at the full risk and expense of Buyer. Profiles, in addition, reserves the right to impose a late charge of fifteen percent (15%) per year on the Purchase Price if Buyer does not make full payment in accordance herewith. Profiles and Buyer acknowledge and agree that these charges are reasonably imposed to partially compensate Profiles for losses and expenses associated with any such delays.
View full terms and conditions