FOUND in a box of aviation books that was brought into the salerooms of Sworders of Stansted Mountfitchet following a North London house clearance was a little pamphlet entitled Experiments and Observations in Soaring Flight.
The text of a speech made by Wilbur Wright on June 24, 1903, it gives details of the experiments that he and his brother Orville had been making with gliders and gives technical details of the 1902 model, but what made it even more appealing for collectors was the presence of the printed and only partly legible inscription With respects of Octave Chanute...‚ and inside, the signature of Thomas Moy.
The Wright brothers, who were to make the first powered flight six months later, had always acknowledged Chanute, with whom they regularly corresponded, as a major influence in their work in achieving controlled powered flight and Moy, too, was a pioneer aviation enthusiast of an earlier generation whose name should perhaps be more widely known.
Moy designed an “aerial steamer”, a model built of bamboo and wire, fitted with two “fixed aeroplanes” fore and aft and equipped with a 3hp engine, that in 1875 (on a track at Crystal Palace) rose a few inches above the ground, allowing him to claim that it was “the first machine weighing 2cwt [that] had ever been driven by its own motive power by revolving planes impinging on the air”.
The pamphlet made £2500 on May 25.
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