June 20, 2013 08:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Wright Brothers, Working Set of Drawings Made From the 1903 Wright Flyer, by Louis P. Christman, with Notes from Orville Wright

Lot of 23 safe copies of drawings made by Louis Christman from the 1903 Wright Flyer, which were part of working sets and contain notes and questions, as well as corrections made by Christman and Orville Wright. Most corrections made by Orville Wright are in red. Rather than take original drawings out of the building, safe copies such as this were made, allowing for the adding of notes and revised sketches on the images. This proved to be a valuable aspect of the project because it saved some of Orville Wright's notes.

Including the following drawings (set, drawing no., and title listed): Set B - 2 Upper Center Wing, 3 Left Upper Wing, 4 Right Upper Wing, 5 Wing Struts, 5-1 Lower Center Wing; Set C - 2 Skid Rail Connections, 3 Skid Rail Cross Tie, 3-1 Strut Diagrams; Set D - 2 Propellers & Shaft, 3 Fly Wheel, 4 Chain Rollers, 5 Tubes & Chain, 5-1 Right / Left Side Propeller; Set E - 2 Struts & Runners, 3 Strut Support Brackets and Front Rudder, 4 Front Rudder, 5 Control Wire Pulley, 5-1 Front Elevation - Pilot's Cradle; Set F - 2 Elevator, 2-1 Canard - Front Rudder; Set G - 2 Rear Rudder, 3 Strut Diagram, 3-1 Control Wire. Each approx. 22 x 34.5 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:The drawings are folded; a few drawings with separations along the folds; few drawings with some light spots; some light edgewear, including a few small tears along the edges.

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


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