Lot 442: French engineer (1841–1925) best known for his pioneering work in aviation. Scarce ALS in French, signed "Ct Ader," one page both sides, 5 x 8, Chateau de Ribonnet letterhead, December 6, 1910. Letter to Jacques Mortane, a writer and early champion of aviation, in full (translated): "I'm back to my home and I hope you have recovered from your disposition. I thank you for having given me news about my manuscript, and I am delighted to learn that these gentlemen have now good intentions regarding it. Regarding the defamation campaign, you know their ways, they work against their country and not just against me. If it were not for my regret of not having been able to finish my works on military aviation, I wouldn't even care for them. You know that the magazine L'Auto is occupied in gathering testimonies. Nevertheless, if you can occasionally defend the good cause of French aviation I would be very grateful to you. I have sent a brochure to Mr. Viollette, and I hope it will be useful to him. It contains the correspondence with the Minister of War at the time and we can say it is unpublished. I very much regret not being able to send you anything else." In fine condition, with some very subtle foxing. Thirteen years after the French army withdrew its funding for Ader's Avion III—a four-propellered, bat-like structure powered by steam engines—the pioneering aviator found himself at the center of bad publicity. In 1910, under pressure to verify that there was no conflicting claim of 'first flight' following the Wright brothers' success, the French commission released their official reports on Ader's attempted flights, emphasizing his failure. Reaching out to journalist Jacques Mortane to "defend the good cause of French aviation," this is a remarkable letter from the early days of flight—one of only a small handful by Ader we have offered.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 453
Sunday, 17th May 2015
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