June 20, 2013 08:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Wright Brothers, Preliminary Drawings of the Wright 1904-1905 Plane Layouts, Made by Louis P. Christman

Original pencil drawings containing 1904-1905 Plane Layouts made by Louis P. Christman, 36.25 x 82.25 in. Penciled notes in Christman's hand at lower left explain that this is a Preliminary Layout. The drawing contains notes and calculations, as well as questions that Christman wanted to ask Orville Wright when they conversed about the project.

Questions and notes penciled in Christman's hand throughout the layout include: Why are propeller shafts Brg housing tubes 3/8" shorter...; Were these washers used between faces of spring and shaft?; Science Museum drawings do not allow for slack of clevis pin locations at wing spars in their drawing of the propeller shaft housing a brace strut.

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:Light edgewear to layout.

Estimate: $800 - $1,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us