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    Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk Plane Fabric Swatch with Lester D. Gardner Document Signed. One page, 8" x 10, no place; no date. "Original fabric from Kitty Hawk 'Wright Flyer' Certification For Elliott G. Reid". The document displays a 1.25" x 1.25" swatch of fabric from the original wing coverings, along with a photograph of Wright and the plane and an explanatory blurb about the fabrics origins. Lester D. Gardner has signed below the paragraph. The typed validation certifies:

    "When Orville Wright, at my suggestion, assembled the Kitty Hawk machine for public exhibition for the first time, in 1916, at the opening of the new buildings of M.I.T. in Cambridge, he found the original fabric could not be used, and substituted new fabric of identical material. When he died, his executors found that he had preserved some of the original coverings of the wings and entrusted several pieces of this most valuable relic to me for distribution to notable aeronautical friends. I certify this piece was used in the first successful flight in history by Orville Wright on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, N. C. [with original ink autograph signature] Lester D. Gardner."

    There is also a small typed notecard, meant to be attached to the back of the framed certificate, which reads, "To ELLIOTT G. REID. I send you with certification what I regard as the most valuable relic in aeronautical history. As very few of these relics can be presented and as they would always be a rare collectors item, I hope that you will have the gift framed with the certification and carefully preserved so that it will never get into the possession of anyone but you. And when you pass on, I hope that you will see that it remains in your family as Orville Wright would never have wanted it to be commercialized. Lester D. Gardner".

    Lester Gardner not only personally knew Orville Wright, but he was also well known throughout the world of early aviation. He had flight status and rank of Major in the U.S. Army Air Service in WW I; in post war years he served on the corporate board of M.I.T. and in his professional career rose to staff member of important New York and Chicago newspapers, becoming president of the Gardner, Moffitt Company as publisher. He was also editor of the leading aviation journals of the era, including Who's Who in American Aeronautics and Aviation as well as holding a position in all-important Aero societies then in existence.

    Elliot Reid, to whom this historic segment of fabric was inscribed and presented, achieved a notable role in early aviation history. Reid was a Stanford aerodynamics professor, but prior to that, he had worked at Langley Research Center and became head of the Atmospheric Wind Tunnel section for NACA. Although he resigned in order to pursue a career in education, he remained close with his colleagues in NACA and always encouraged his students at Stanford to consider careers at Langley and with NACA.

    Condition: The piece of fabric is worn and soiled. The certificate and notecard are toned throughout with mat burn at the margins. The certificate is stained on verso from the adhesive from the fabric. Else, good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    14th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 418

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