June 20, 2013 08:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Wright Brothers, Original Drawings of Parts Used in the 1905 Wright Aeroplane, by Louis P. Christman, with Corrections Made by Orville Wright

Lot of 4 drawings of parts made by Louis Christman, including 3 original pencil drawings and 1 copy, each containing notes and questions, as well as corrections made by Orville Wright and Christman. Most corrections made by Orville Wright are in red. Rather than taking original drawings out of the building, safe copies such as these were made, allowing for the making of notes and additional sketches on the images. This proved to be a very valuable aspect of the project, saving some of the notes of Orville Wright.

At times it was necessary to design and build tools like the originals that were used at the turn of the century. Pieces that were being reproduced / replicated were made in great and exacting detail. The lot features drawings of the following parts for the 1905 Flyer:

Arbor and Slitting Saw, used to cut wire slots in the trailing end of wing ribs, which would be used in Walker-Turner Drill Press. Pencil drawing, marked by Christman, LPC 4.12.48, 8.5 x 11 in.

Die for Extruding Flange Hub, pencil drawing, with notes in pinkish-red, 8 x 8.5 in.

Rear Rudder Outrigger Tension Spring, copy drawing containing penciled notes and questions, 11 x 16.75 in.

Armature Cover for Dayton Electric Co. (Apple) Magneto used in 1905 Wright Bros Aeroplane, Charge 3233, pencil drawing, signed lower right LPC / AD2712 / Miami Conservancy, ca 1949, 14 x 15 in.

The original pencil drawings of the Wright Flyers offered today as lots 314-319 were made by Louis P. Christman between 1947 and 1951 for Colonel Edward E. Deeds and Charles F. Kettering at the National Cash Register Co. (NCR). The purpose of the drawings, as previously discussed, was to make a more precise set of drawings / prints of the Wright Brother's gliders as well as the 1903, 1904, and 1905 Flyers, which could be used to begin the reconstruction of the 1905 Wright Flyer. Christman conferred with Orville Wright and Colonel Deeds concerning the accuracy of the new set of drawings, therefore correcting any errors that might have been significant and would have affected reconstruction.

The pencil drawings show the word "redrawn" in several instances. This indicates that the drawing is indeed an original and the subsequent drawings were redrawn, or cleaned up, for presentation to the National Science Museum - Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C.

Louis P. Christman (1893-1972)

As an employee of National Cash Register, with his experience in aircraft and machine design, Louis P. Christman was called upon by prominent engineer and inventor, Colonel Edward Deeds, to undertake the restoration of the 1905 Wright Flyer, which resides at Carillon Park, Dayton, Ohio. Christman was given the opportunity to work closely with Orville Wright in order to produce an accurate set of drawings, or blueprints, for the 1900, 1901, and 1902 gliders as well as the 1903, 1904, and 1905 Wright Flyers. Since no complete drawings were ever produced by Orville and Wilbur Wright during the building and flying of the planes, it was required that Christman travel to Washington, D.C. to the Smithsonian Institution to take measurements and make drawings from the original 1903 Flyer that is displayed there and to discuss these drawings with Orville Wright.

Continued meetings and conversations between Orville Wright, Colonel Deeds, and Christman resulted in a very refined set of drawings of the three planes and their engines – drawings that were quite satisfactory to Orville Wright. Christman, under the direction of Colonel Deeds, then began the restoration of the 1905 Flyer in 1947, on the grounds of the National Cash Register Co. This project involved not only incorporating as many original parts as could be obtained, but the designing and machining of matching parts in order to complete the aeroplane. This restoration project took Christman approximately 19 months, from the drawing stage to the completion of the frame. Final construction and assembly was completed at Carillon Historical Park, where the plane was reassembled and fabric was stretched.

Christman’s drawings are well documented in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. Knowledgeable men and women who have produced models and full-sized planes since 1948 have relied most exclusively on the “Christman Drawings.” The Smithsonian Institution has recently produced framed copies of Christman’s three view plate, with consideration in print concerning the works of Christman. The work that Christman did for Orville Wright, Dayton Wright Aeroplane, Charles F. Kettering, Inland Manufacturing, NCR Corp., Colonel Deeds, and Carillon Park is of considerable historical importance and interest.

Lots 308-319 represent a portion of items given to Christman for his work in restoring the 1905 Wright Flyer, and they have descended directly in his family.

Provenance:Descended in the Family of Louis P. Christman

Condition:Die for extruding flange hub with partial, horizontal tear that starts along center left edge and extends part way through drawing; Rear rudder outrigger with some considerable wear near center, horizontal crease and along right and left edges, plus some scattered soiling; Armature cover with some light edgewear, few light stains/smudges, folds in drawing.

Estimate: $1,000 - $1,500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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