Dayton, November 8, 1905
Your letters of Nov. 4th & 7th have been received. We also have the samples of waterproof glue and thank you very much for sending them.
Saturday was an ideal day for record breaking but we were too disgusted to care to make use of it. Yesterday we went out and dismantled the machine. If necessary we could set it together again in two or three days, but we have no thought now of further experiments at our present grounds.
Regarding the letter to Capt. Ferber we have no suggestion to make except that it would be better to mail it at Chicago rather than Dayton. We have written him hearty congratulations on his success and assured him that we regard it an advantage rather than a disadvantage to us, since the possession of a practical machine by the French makes it imperative for other European governments to come to us at once.1
We will send copies of the American correspondence within a few days. You can show it to anyone except newspaper men. We think it would not be best to make it public just at present.
1 Wilbur Wright to Capt. Ferdinand Ferber, Nov. 4, 1905, not included in this work. The Wrights had previously written to Ferber on Oct. 9, 1905, announcing the results of the 1905 experiments, stating: ". . . It is our present intention to first offer it [the Wright machine] to the governments for war purposes, and if you think your government would be interested, we would be glad to communicate with it."
Ferber replied on October 21: "Tell me the price which you want for your machine. Only, I must tell you that considering the progress which I have made since June the Government is no longer interested in paying as great a sum as it was in February 1904, or even in May 1905, at the time of my last two letters." (Chanute translation.)
The "progress . . . made since June" alludes to Ferber's doubtful experiments with his glider after mounting a motor. In his reply of Nov. 4, mentioned above, Wilbur Wright wrote Ferber his congratulations, then added: "But even though France already has reached a high degree of success, it may wish to avail itself of our discoveries, partly to supplement its own work; or, perhaps, partly to accurately inform itself of the state of the art as it will exist in those countries which buy the secrets of our motor machine.
"Under the present circumstances we would consent to reduce our price to the French government to one million francs, the money to be paid only after the genuine value of our discoveries had been demonstrated by a flight of one of our machines in the presence of official representatives of the government a distance of not less than fifty kilometers in not more than one hour of time."
Cf Wright Cycle Co. to the French Ambassador, Nov. 28, 1905.
Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright,
November 16, 1905