Small archive of material related to Octave Chanute and the first-ever sale of an aircraft in France, comprised of two ALSs in French by Chanute, a shipping invoice, and three photographs. Both letters are to aviator Jacques Balsan, who had ordered an aircraft in 1903. The first is signed “O. Chanute,” one page, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, December 21, 1904. In part (translated): “The glider you ordered on November 6, 1903, was finished (except for the fabric) in March 1904, the time at which you were coming to America. Receiving no letter from you, I had to take the glider at my own expense.” He then says he covered the glider, and that it was flown by William Avery at the St. Louis World’s Fair in September of that year, continuing, “I received your telegram of September 24, 1904, and I replied that I would be in St. Louis from October 3 for a week. When I arrived, you already left for New York. The glider is back here (in Chicago), it is in good shape, but it will cost you 500 francs if you want it.” This letter was clearly successful, as the second ALS, also signed “O. Chanute,” one page both sides, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, February 28, 1905, offers detailed information about the shipping of the glider to Paris. The invoice is for crating an airplane and initialed by Chanute, “O. C.,” adding a note reading, “Freight prepaid Chicago to New York.” The three photos, all measuring 2.5 x 2, depict the Chanute-Herring glider. In overall very good to fine condition.
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