Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright

Chicago, July 22, 1908

I have your letter of 10th and am glad to know that your scalds (which were reported by cablegrams) have healed without complications.

I fear some of our letters have miscarried. I wrote you at Kitty Hawk, April 13th, that I was going to New York and you could reach me at the Century Club, 16th & 17th. Since then I have heard nothing until the present letter. I do not know where Mr. Alexander picked up the notion that I was going to Europe.

I had occasion to say something about you in a paper to the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain and in one to the Illustrierte Aeronautische Mitteilungen.1 Of the latter, Col. Moedebeck writes that he will thereby be able to "rehabilitate in Europa the good meaning for the Wright brothers upon their merits," as he now writes me in English.

I regret to learn that you are not more ably assisted by your helper but I trust that your own resources will be ample to achieve complete success. I shall look for cablegrams in the press about August 1st and I shall hope to hear from you again.

1 The two papers by Chanute were: "Recent Aeronautical Progress in the United States," The Aeronautical Journal, July 1908, pp. 52 55, and "Bevorstehende Flugversuche in Amerika," Mitteilungen, July 1908, pp. 346 349. As the titles denote, the articles were very similar and were prompted by the publication of the Signal Corps' flying machine specifications and its call for bids.

The following comment appears in Orville Wright's letter to Wilbur Wright, July 19, 1908: ". . . I notice that Chanute has written an article for the Mitteilungen, in which he again criticizes our business methods, says we have Spent two years in fruitless negotiations because we have asked a ridiculously high price, but that now we have gone to the other extreme in making a price to our own government. He predicts that Herring will fail, but that we will succeed, unless, we meet with an accident. I think I will write him. He has also become a convert to airships, and thinks they are going to have great value in war. He says the use of the flyer is greatly overestimated, generally, and that its uses will be very restricted. He seems to be endeavoring to make our business more difficult. . . .

Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright, August 25, 1908