Lot 6001: Wilbur Wright Autograph Letter Signed
Rare ALS signed “Wilbur Wright,” four pages two sets of adjoining sheets, 4.5 x 5.5, January 25, 1912. Letter to Mr. W. de Hevesy in Paris. In part: “During the past three months most of my time has been taken up with law suits and I have been away from home most of the time. I am hoping to be freed from this kind of work before another year has ended. It is much more pleasant to go to Kitty Hawk for experiments than to worry over law-suits. We had hoped in 1906 to sell our invention to governments for enough money to satisfy our needs and then devote our time to science, but the jealousy of certain persons blocked this plan, and compelled us to rely on our patents and commercial exploitation. We wished to be free from business cares so that we could give all our own time to advancing the science and art of aviation, but we have been compelled to spend our time on business matters instead, during the past five years. When we think what we might have accomplished if we had been able to devote this time to experiments, we feel very sad, but it is always easier to deal with things than with men, and no one can direct his life entirely as he would choose. Yet these years have not been without their pleasant spots. And we look back with much enjoyment to the friendships made during this period. If you should come to America do not forget Dayton.” In fine condition, with repaired partial separations to folds. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed in his own hand.
The Wright Brothers received their patent for a ‘Flying Machine’ in May 1906, which outlined the method they devised for controlling an aircraft in flight. Accusing competitors of copying their designs, the Wrights began suing for patent infringement at home and abroad. Their most famous suit was brought against Glenn Curtiss in 1909 and was not resolved until after Wilbur’s death, which came just five months after he penned this letter. His observation on the effects of their constant litigation is astute: it was a distraction that hindered the Wrights’ progress, and it stalled the development of the American aviation industry as a whole. Meanwhile, manned flight in Europe began to surpass America’s capabilities. Any autographic material from Wilbur Wright is extremely scarce, and letters of this length with such outstanding aviation content very rarely surface. Provenance: The Everett Fisher Collection.
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