New Collection: Louis P. Christman Drawings

Upon creating Carillon Park in the early 1940s, Colonel Edward Deeds wished to reconstruct the original Wright Brothers’ 1905 Flyer in one of the park’s buildings. As Orville and Wilbur Wright had never produced a complete set of drawings or blueprints for any of their flyers, Deeds commissioned Louis P. Christman to complete not only a set of drawings for the 1905 Flyer, but also the 1900, 1901, and 1902 Gliders, and the 1903 and 1904 Flyers.

Louis P. Christman, (1893-1972), an employee of National Cash Register, worked closely with Orville Wright to produce an accurate set of drawings.  In creating plans for the 1903 Flyer, Christman traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. to take measurements and make drawings from the original 1903 Flyer displayed there and later the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to study, and trace, informal drawings the Brothers had done.  Back in Dayton, he then would discuss these notes with Orville Wright.

Continued meetings and conversations between Orville Wright and Christman resulted in a refined set of drawings of the numerous gliders and planes. Christman, under the direction of Deeds, then began the restoration of the 1905 Flyer in 1947, on the grounds of the National Cash Register Co. Final construction and assembly was completed at Carillon Historical Park, where the plane was reassembled and fabric was stretched. The plane is on display there today.

Original Pencil Drawing of 1903 Flyer, Support Rails.

Original Pencil Drawing of 1903 Flyer, Support Rails.

Recently Special Collections and Archives at the Wright State University Libraries purchased at auction Christman’s Original Pencil Drawing of the 1903 Engine Support Rails, Original Pencil Tracing of the 1903 Flyer’s Wing Ribs, and a Working Set of Blue-Line Drawings Made from the 1903 Flyer including notations from both Christman and Orville Wright.

 

Here are some additional photographs of a few of the Christman drawings:

The Louis P. Christman drawings can be found in MS-477 (view PDF finding aid).

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3 Responses to New Collection: Louis P. Christman Drawings

  1. Pingback: New and Updated Collections Available for Research | Out of the Box

  2. I have a question concerning the statement:
    “In creating plans for the 1903 Flyer, Christman traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. to take measurements and make drawings from the original 1903 Flyer displayed there and later the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to study, and trace, informal drawings the Brothers had done. Back in Dayton, he then would discuss these notes with Orville Wright.”
    The 1903 Flyer was not returned to the Smithsonian until October of 1948, after the death of Orville Wright on January 30th, 1948. It was located at the Science Museum at Kensington England from 1928 to 1948. Did Christman travel to England to make these measurements of the 1903 flyer, or was this portion of work by Christman performed after Orville’s death, once the Flyer was relocated to the Smithsonian?
    Take care, Matt Yanney, wrightbrothershistory.blogspot.com

    • gino says:

      The drawings were done during and after Mr. Wright’s death. And Christman did travel to the Smithsonian to study the 1903 Flyer. Obviously, he could not have discussed his Smithsonian trips with Mr. Wright. To our knowledge he made no trips to England. We will clarify the issue in the collection inventory.

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