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    Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk Plane Fabric Swatch with Lester D. Gardner Document Signed. "Original fabric from Kitty Hawk 'Wright Flyer'...certification...for Charles Froesch" is the bold five line heading on this original 7.5" x 9.5" signed and substantiated document to which is affixed (in a panel above headline) an original piece of fabric from the momentous flight that changed the course of history. The printed 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."

    Lester Gardner not only personally knew Orville Wright (NOTE: two letters from Orville Wright to Lester Gardner were sold by Heritage in 1992) but was 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.

    "Charles Froesch" to whom this historic segment of fabric was inscribed and presented also achieved a notable role in early aviation history...commencing in WW I with duty in the U.S. Army Air Service, followed by a distinguished career with the legendary Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, with whom he maintained a lifetime association, and the creation of Eastern Airlines. Froesch is oft mentioned in "Captain Eddie's" autobiography (1967) as vice president and chief engineer of Eastern and as "vice president in charge of engineering and a brilliant one" well as the 2005 biography of Rickenbacker where Froesch is mentioned as having "...played a strong role in advising Rickenbacker to abandon Condors and Kingbirds and adopt DC-2's and Electras...Rick admired the way Froesch managed inventories...Froesch recommended that Eastern acquire an even better aircraft, the DC-3 that Douglas was developing and Rickenbacker began switching to it in 1936"

    Accompanied by a wealth of photostatic material affirming the significance of the recipient, Froesch, and Lester D. Gardner. For the aviation historian and collector of early aeronautics, there is little in the field of collecting that rivals the importance of this extremely historic memento.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,297

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