WILBUR WRIGHT ASSURES ROBERT COLLIER HE WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE GORDON BENNETT RACE
Lot 39
WILBUR WRIGHT ASSURES ROBERT COLLIER HE WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE GORDON BENNETT RACE
Sold for US$ 8,750 inc. premium

The Air and Space Sale

27 Sep 2017, 13:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
WILBUR WRIGHT ASSURES ROBERT COLLIER HE WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THE GORDON BENNETT RACE
WRIGHT, WILBUR. 1867-1912. Typed letter signed ("Wilbur Wright"), 1p, 4to, on letterhead of The Wright Company, Dayton Ohio, February 3, 1912. To Robert J. Collier, President of the Aero Club of America, New York, NY. "In the interest of good sport the Wright Company will permit representatives of foreign nations to participate in the 1912 race for the Gordon Bennett Cup, regardless of any question as to to whether their aeroplanes do or do not infringe patents owned by this company."

Up to this point, the Wright brothers had been fiercely protective of their patents regarding the bi-plane design, often threatening legal action against perceived infringements. In the case of the prestigious Gordon Bennett race, however, the Wrights decided to turn a blind eye. This may have been in deference to Robert J. Collier, the publishing magnate, who had himself created a trophy awarded for achievements in aviation (still awarded to this day). The first Gordon Bennett Trophy race was held in France in 1909. As the nationality of each winner determined the host nation of the following year's race, the 1910 and 1912 races were held in the U.S. Suspended during World War I, the last three races (1912, 1913 and 1920) were won by French pilots. Per the terms of the competition, any nation that won three successive races would claim the trophy permanently. The trophy was thus retired to the Aéro-Club de France.
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