1894 correspondence between
Octave Chanute and Louis Pierre Mouillard

January 7, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

Two days ago I received your kind letter of December 10. I shall read it carefully and give my answers in a separate letter.

I am writing you today to inform you that on February about twenty of my co-citizens will leave here on a Mediterranean tour. Among them is Mr. James W. Scott, owner of two daily newspapers (the Herald and the Post) who is interested as an amateur in air navigation.

I gave him a letter for you. He will be at the Shepheard's hotel on February 23. He does not speak French, but his wife will act as an interpreter.

I am glad that you are going to get acquainted with these Chicago gentlemen and am sure that you are going to show them some of your airplane experiments as well as your vultures, because I have a notion to invite them afterwards to join me in order to enable you to go ahead with your experiments.

I am sending you the January issue of the Cosmopolitan. Your article is not in it. I do not know why. It may be possible that the Chicago gentlemen may get the February issue before leaving New York.May I call your attention to an article on page 382 of the January number by Gaston Tissandier who always dabbles with balloons. Note also, on page 63 of the advertisement section, an offer of 25,000 francs for a 100 h.p. engine weighing 228 kilograms including water and fuel for two hours. About four months ago Mr. Walker asked my advice ln regards to this advertisement, and I told him that this offer was not practical.

I wrote you on December 6 and 18 and sent you the rest of your book on the latter date. I keep my fingers crossed so that the book may arrive in good condition.

I am told that there is a short newspaper report which tells that Lilienthal has succeeded to climb while gliding. If I can get hold of that article I shall enclose it in this letter.

January 8, 1894

Memorandum for Mr. Jas. W. Scott

Mr. Mouillard was born in Lyon, France, and must now be about 58 years of age. He was "enthused" at the age of 15 by the problem of flight, and has spent his whole life in watching the birds, and in musing how to imitate them. While still young, he purchased a farm in Algeria, so as to study the soaring birds, and there built two or three machines, with one of which he succeeded in gliding on the air some 132 feet, but subsequently met with an accident. He then designed and partly built a better machine, but, his health failing, sold out his farm and removed to Cairo, Egypt, where he engaged in the business of a druggist.

In 1881, he published a record of his observations of birds, L'Empire de L'Air, which excited much interest, and of which the Smithsonian Institution is about to publish a partial translation. He has since written another book, Le Vol sans Battemant which has been read by Professor Langley and myself and which is about to be published in France.

He thinks that he is now prepared to build a machine with which a man can soar like a bird and I believe his success to be possible. An article by him is now in the hands of the Cosmopolitan magazine for publication.

January 8, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

Permit me to introduce to you Mr. James W. Scott of Chicago, the owner of two large Chicago newspapers. I kindly ask you to put your familiarity of Cairo at his disposal.

Mr. Scott is also interested in the problem of air navigation, and I have spoken well of you to him.

January 18, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

With great interest I read three or four times your letter of December 10 which gives a description of your improved machines.

I am not quite certain that I understand them perfectly; first, because my mind is still somewhat affected due to my indisposition and then because you passed over many details in silence.

Yet I think I should tell you that these improved machines are too complicated to start out with. There are two principal questions I would like to have settled: 1.) Whether the machine is capable to create "suction" with flat surfaces, 2.) whether it will maintain its equilibrium in vertical air currents. You have no doubts about it but it seems to me that your first machine (the one submitted for patent) was better fitted to demonstrate the sufficiency of your general design; especially in view of the difficulties caused by the resistance of materials and by the necessity to execute certain maneuvers very rapidly to parry oblique or vertical air currents. I gladly believe that your "spiral and moving quarter circles" should be added to the "first machine," but that the addition of a fuselage could be delayed until the success of the first machine is assured.

In order to accomplish this it would be sufficient to take off from a small steamboat which moves against the wind, as I have mentioned in the last article of my series (January 1894).

All one has to do is to put on a waterproof suit and a life belt. Then if one drops in the water with or without the machine, the boat will quickly come to the rescue. This method is, after all, better than to plunge in head first, entangled in a fuselage of your improved machine.

Therefore, I believe the thing to do is to build a machine of bamboo just large enough to takeoff properly (14 to 18 square meters) to equip it with the parts which are absolutely necessary and to employ an acrobat to assist you.

Fly freely one or two kilometers with this machine, and money for the improvements will be abundant. Please let me know how much you think these first trials will cost as perhaps we have to pay for them ourselves.

I have not yet organized the society to carry on aeronautical experiments. I am counting somewhat on the good impression of you on the rich men from Chicago whom I introduced to you. I know several of them, but only slightly, and I have only talked to two of them about you. One is Mr. Scott who is inclined to believe in an ultimate success, and the other Mr. Ayer has no faith in it at all. Although he is an enthusiastic ornithologist he is not interested in flight whatever. I have made a subscription in your name for "Aeronautics." I am going to write you a separate letter about Lilienthal.

January 18, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I got in touch with Mr. Whittlesey, the patent lawyer, to learn whether the interests of your invention would be affected by the publication of Lilienthal's experiments, in case the newspaper article which I sent you turns out to be true.

He tells me that in the United States we are protected since we have made application (for the patent), but not so in Europe. In Austria, Belgium, England, Italy and Spain, when this publication in each of these countries precedes the description of an invention, no patent may be issued. In France, Germany, and Portugal the publication does not affect or prevent the issue of a patent. In Sweden and Norway there is a respite of six months from the time this publication appeared; there after no patent will be issued. In Denmark and Russia the previous publication does not prevent the granting of a patent, provided the public has not made use of the publication.

He also says that it would perhaps be better to bring the expiration date of the USA patent in conformity with those in Europe (3 or 4 years I believe) than to be deprived of those patents entirely, and that in this case we could make patent applications without waiting for the patent to be granted in this country. What is your opinion?

The question is to know the construction of Lilienthal's machine. It has been photographed but the pictures hardly reveal how to classify it and how simple it might be. From the small pictures I sent you, I had enlarged blueprints made which I enclose in my letter. Note the projections half a meter from the inner tips of the arms. They look to me like ball and socket joints which snap together when the machine is in action. Are they taken off when the machine is photographed?

Note also what I said in my articles on Lilienthal (July and August 1893). He started out with 10 square meters, went back to 8 square meters, then this year he uses 14 square meters (20 kilos). Having started with a descendent glide, it therefore seems possible that he has acquired enough skill to use 14 square meters and to ascend while gliding. I believe that he controls the machine by displacing his weight by means of the force of the wrists and the elbows, as well as perhaps by means of opening and closing the wings and that he may have for this purpose a spiral spring in the ball and socket joint which however seems doubtful to me. Finally there is a possibility that Lilienthal will not divulge anything about his machine before we have everything in right order.

Perhaps you could expedite matters at the U.S. Patent Office by sending me a small model through the American gentlemen who are going to visit Egypt.

January 18, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

Permit me to introduce Mr. E. E. Ayer of Chicago who is much interested in ornithology.

I think he will be pleased to see the curious maneuvers of the soaring birds, which you have been observing all your life.

Cairo, January 20. 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I herewith acknowledge receipt of my book.

On December 10 last I mailed you a registered letter which contains the description of the two airplanes I intend to build. I am sorry that their description turned out to be so brief, but I came to this decision in order to make things more clear; however I am keeping at your disposal every detail of any part which you either could not comprehend or in which you would be interested.

As you see I have decided to act boldly. I think it is up to me to do so, understanding as I do that the impression of flight maneuvers which I gained by means of thousands of observations cannot be inculcated to others by means of a written description.

I am so sorry that you could not make it possible to spend the winters in Cairo. I am convinced that our conversation and the sight of the soaring birds would have been absolutely enlightening.

Cairo, 3 February 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

The newspaper article you enclosed in your kind letter of 7 January had me stupefied. According to it Lilienthal has flown. This seems plausible. I, for my part, believe it because an experiment which is repeated and improved until it leads to ascending flight seems to me to be a sign of truth. I think we should have no more illusions about it, and accept the accomplished fact. Several people have sent me French newspaper articles which tell the same story. The question now remains, what is to be done about it.

First, what is he going to do? He may learn slowly how to fly well, and because he lacks teachers he will have to guess how to do it. I don't think he intends to reserve the atmosphere for himself as private property, certainly not. But he is bound to think of making profit of his invention by having the machine patented with which he made that flight. In France, at least, this would be rather difficult, for he may be told that "L'Empire de l'Air" has treated the problem a long time ago. Admitting that he has applied for a patent, even that one has been granted to him which is rather probable, the question is to do better than he has done; or, if the picture you sent me is true, it is easy to produce something better. The first airplane I sent you in 1892 is much more practical than his, and the two recent ones are of better advantage yet. Their greatest shortcoming lies in the fact that they are in the designing stage.

The examiner who refused you a patent ought to feel very sheepish now, since Lilienthal has demonstrated that he can make an ascending flight. I am sure that henceforth he will not refuse any more patents on his own authority.

As far as I can see, this matter is developing into a race for speed to be won by the party who succeeds fastest to produce a practical machine. In order to do this, it will first be necessary to build and then have it operate.

I am impatiently waiting for a letter from you in which you tell me more about Lilienthal's flight demonstration. As you, no doubt, are in touch with German you should have no trouble to get correct reports. As soon as you receive some, please send them on to me. After the problem being given such a start, I think that it is going to be tackled from many angles by many different methods; therefore this is the moment to secure a proper place by building good and practical machines which are easy to operate. It seems to me that I do not exaggerate when I say that as far as considerations are concerned I have the advantage over my competitors in the line of ideas; it therefore would be well to take advantage of this fact so let us go ahead with the patents and the demonstrations.

As this question is one of the desiderata of your life, I believe that you are as anxious as I am; I therefore kindly ask you to write me about this matter as soon as possible for I think nobody is going to fall asleep now and the road to be travelled now is going to be travelled as fast as fire along tracks of blasting powder.

On February 24 I shall be at the Shepheard's Hotel to see Mr. W. Scott and your friends. I shall try to make them understand gliding flight by showing them how this flight is accomplished without any exertion of force by the small vultures which will be ready to demonstrate. As to the large vulture, this is a different matter as I am not certain whether I shall be able to show them; as this bird becomes rarer and rarer, it simply means taking a chance; the Englishmen hunt them to extermination.

Lilienthal's experiment has changed my opinion fundamentally. There are some points which I cannot grasp very well. Indeed, he reaches an altitude of thousand feet, higher than the Eiffel tower, and lands before nightfall. Therefore did the wind decrease suddenly?

He glided alright, for his machine being of the flapping wing type should be able to make at least some fifty flapping motions which, by the way, would be more figurative, but not effective at all. I have tried this kind of flying for a long time with my No. 3, with the de Massia airplane and finally with my No. 4 (Emp. de l'Air). I found this kind of flying so troublesome that I considered flapping to be impractical. I even wrote in "Vol sans Battemant" that the simple stand on the extended wings causes so much trouble that the problem has to be reversed, in other words to transform the flapping wing airplane into an airplane with fixed wings. Therefore, it seems very probable that Lilienthal's flight was made without flapping wings.

What will be your decision in this matter? My opinion would be to hurry and do better; unless we decide to lose everything we ought to do something. It is a simple question of money and Lilienthal has demonstrated to us that the problem which I have so much propounded is true. As we know it just as well as he does, it seems to me that it would be a crime to stand by with folded arms and watch him make his flight experiments.

Please give me your reply at the earliest moment; now, time is money.

Chicago, February 9, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received your letter of January 20 and feel greatly relieved to know that your book has reached you. I still have 2500 francs at your disposal to have it printed.

I am glad to note that you have decided to make the first experiments yourself. By the time this letter reaches you, you may have seen Mr. Scott and his friends. When they come back home I intend to ask them to join me to supply you with the necessary funds. I believe your experiments should be made in Egypt or at least in a country where there are soaring birds in order to have the same conditions. It ought to be very simple to build the machine because I advised you to use bamboo instead of aluminum. The latter could be used for the hinges and perhaps, if need be, they could be gotten in France according to your drawings and models. For the rest I think you may find some mechanic in Cairo. Lilienthal's machine is made of wicker which is much heavier than bamboo or agave and yet it only weighs 20 kilograms. Do not make too large to start with; I think 15 kg will be sufficient. See what Lilienthal had to say in my article (July and August).

Your article has been published in the Cosmopolitan on 1 February. I asked the publisher to send you a dozen copies and I wrote him again so he keeps you in mind. Moreover, I mailed you three copies from here and ask you to let me know if you need more. The publisher cut short certain passages so as to fit the make-up. You also may note that I added the descriptions of the pictures according to your supplementary letter.

The publication of the Smithsonian which should contain the translation of L'Empire de l'Air has not come out yet. I expect it any day now.

I deplore with you that I could not come and spend the winter in Cairo, for I have just had another loss of 25,000 francs, which would have been more serious if I had been out of the country.

March 9, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

In the same mail which brought me your letter of February 3, I received a booklet from Lilienthal which contained the article which has been translated in the January issue of the Aeronaute. In this translation the article has been curtailed, garbled, deprived of practical information and very poorly appreciated besides. It took me several days to make a good translation of this article. After I have it proofread you may find it in the next month's issue of Aeronautics which magazine I am having sent to you regularly.

Lilienthal suggests frankly to all investigators who think to have some ideas to imitate his experiments, and he points out what precautions to take to avoid accidents. He says there is room for everybody and tells what he is going to do next summer. I suppose those who clipped these sentences off his article intend to follow his advice, but they have to be careful not to break their necks. . . . .

There is another point: what may happen to Lilienthal when a gust of wind strikes his machine from the rear. He is very cautious, very wise, but he is taking a great risk by installing an engine from now on. He is not lacking any models, for he has the stork and the falcon but he is quite certain that you understand gliding much better than he and that your machine is better designed than his. I therefore agree entirely with you that it should pass the test. What I want to know is where, how, and what it will cost. I should be very glad to have your opinion on this subject.

It is also obvious that now is the time to get busy with your book, without altogether revealing the practical construction of your machine. Lilienthal, although very frank, does not give away any secrets of his airplane. I wrote him and sent him the articles in which I wrote about him. He sent me his article without any letter. Under his signature he publishes only his experiences during descending or undulating flights, but I agree with you that he did make ascending flights as stated in the small newspaper item I sent you, which (as I have learned since) came from the Russian magazine Technik.

Will you kindly inquire whether Sir Benjamin Baker, an English engineer is in Cairo now and how long he intends to stay in Egypt.

Cairo, March 10, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I have delayed to write this letter, because I am absolutely embarrassed by what happened to me. I have not seen your American friends.

On February 24, I went to the Shepheard's Hotel. My calling card was sent up to Mr. James W. Scott and Mr. Ayer. I was told that the gentlemen are not in. The next day I called again; again not in. The following day, the same procedure. Listen to this, I wrote Mr. Scott a letter in which I gave him my address. No reply. Then I went from one hotel in Cairo to the other and was convinced that they are at Shepheard's alright, but that they did not want to see me. I am sending you a copy of the newspaper which has the passenger list, so you may convince yourself where they stopped. As I only know the name of two of the gentlemen I cannot decide. I did not find Mr. Ayer, but Mr. & Mrs. Scott must be in suite No. 53 of the Shepheard's Hotel.

I do not know what to make of it. It can not be my person which displeased them, because they do not know me. It is not my reputation, because I have none, neither good nor bad (my acquaintances say: good). Finally I got hot under the collar. The whole matter is too bad, but I could not do anything about it; I could not violate the sanctity of their abode nor could I obtrude upon them further then sending them my calling card three times and a letter carried by my servant.

Let us forget these experiences and whatever may come out of them, since chance has disposed of them, and let us pass on to other matters.

What are we to do now? What road shall we follow? Which is the best way?

To publish my book would give Lilienthal the information he is looking for: the means to make turns in flight, which it seems he has not yet discovered; to convert him to gliding and ascending flight in place of a more or less slow drop? To have him examine the bird; to teach him how to float instead of falling within the longest possible distance? Or shall I do it myself? I am in a rather inconvenient position for this purpose. Lilienthal, it seems, has unrestricted freedom which I have not. I have only 4 hours at my disposal between evening and nightfall and then I am in the city. To get to a site where to make experiments will take several kilometers, all this is hardly practical. Yet the system of the airplanes which I command is far from the one on blueprint which you sent me.

I have pondered over your idea to disregard the airplane which rests on the water and to transform it into an airplane with wheels, which could be moved on the ground. This is a change of details: to move on water or to move on the ground is practically the same thing. I have the facility of vision ‹ the rocket is always the engine, the propellant.

If I should succeed to get a position I applied for, the question would be very much simplified. I would live in the desert and there I would have every facility for experiments while being employed and paid for, for living there. But this is not yet an accomplished fact, far from it. I must have this job.

I have read the article on Lilienthal in L'Aeronaute over and over again. According to what I read it seems to me that Lilienthal has gotten as far with his design as my airplane No.3.

How would it be to get in touch with him? Please try to make this possible.

Cairo, March 23, 18

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I did not see your American friends, but it must be remembered that trying to meet them was not an idea of mine. It is a deplorable affair, but what can be done about it? They did not want to see me, and I could not insist.

In my last letter I forgot to tell you that I subscribed for Aeronautics. You have been kind enough to do the very same for me. I thank you very much. But as this would be a duplication, I better inform you of the actual fact, so that you may get your money back. If I remember correctly, the subscription price is $1.20.

I regret more and more that you could not come to Cairo. How many things could we have accomplished within a few days! You could have seen how the proposition stands and you could have formed an opinion of what to do. Your Mr. Scott and your other acquaintances could have had a hand in the work to be decided, but they did not want to do it. I looked forward with the greatest of pleasure to meeting them, and I believe that I could have made a favorable and pleasant acquaintance among them. I expected to be able to be of assistance to those who paint, as among the baggage were boxes of aquiarelles and albues of gentlemen interested in ornithology, geology, etc., even in Egyptology; naturally I am a colossal authority (in my fashion) on Egyptian antiquities. If there is anybody who has an obsession for the prehistorics, you need go no further to look for him. This is not more than natural. I have spent almost thirty years of my life in this country, so I had plenty of time to ponder, and as I am very curious to study hard. Prehistoric study is something to shout about. It is just made to order for me, but I lack the time to give it much attention - there is a probability that their lack of knowledge of French and mine of English has been the decisive factors that your friends and I could not get together. If so, they were entirely wrong, for when one is informed, one always may be understood. Once, in Port Said I had a discussion which lasted for three days with Herr (I forgot the name), director of the anatomical department of Vienna. He did not know a word of French, nor I of German. How the people at our dining table laughed! And yet, we did not stop. Between scraps of Latin and Greek we always succeeded to understand one another, except however we could not agree on the primary object of our discussion. By chance we were placed side by side at the table. Herr X pulled some stones out of his pocket and put them on my side of the table. I looked at them through the corner of my eye and said, "Pliocene;" he answered, "Eocene," and so started a three days' discussion. The assistance of a crew of young Dutch officers who came ashore was needed to reconcile our opinion, and in spite of it, this was no easy matter.

Which goes to show that when there is something to be discussed, there is always a way to make oneself understood, especially if the subject is interesting.

How about Mr. Otto Lilienthal? What became of him? Why did he not go around this world yet? I must confess that I have been looking for him, way up in the air, because straight flight is the easiest kind to learn. According to my experience the straight flight is easiest to learn. The newspapers no longer write about him, how is that? If I was in his place I certainly would have seen many countries. Therefore, the conclusion may be drawn that he has not mastered flying yet. I state once more that it is just as easy to fly 100 kilometers as it is to fly a single one. There is a fact for which I have no explanation, which, even causes me to doubt the veracity of what I have read. The difficult part is to take-off and next to land. He did both many times, but he never took advantage of gliding which becomes an effortless automatic motion and which is merely a question of the length of time to remain over one point of the ground. Here, dear sir, is something which needs more explanation.

As the matter looks to me from here where there is little up-to-date news, I imagine rightly or wrongly that in the development of his machine he has reached the point where I found myself at the time of my first experiments in Algiers when I was aware of the fact that my airplane lacked control devices. It seems to me that he is exactly in the same position. He is wise enough not to understand that he is not master of his machine causing him to be afraid to jump off and (read the chapter Effect of Speed E to l'A).

Therefore, it will become necessary to outclass him in speed and to do better than he does. This would not be plagiarism for the public will be aware that the publishing date of "L'Empire de l'Air" is 1881 and even if it dates back so far, that it contains the rudimentaries of so many things pertaining to aviation of which Lilienthal has not even caught a glimpse, especially the very enthusiastic description of gliding.

If he had very exact controls and the understanding of how to fly, the best way of take-off for him could be not by means of dropping but horizontally and in this way get into ascending flight. Therefore, according to what I have been able to learn about him, he is learning to fly just now, and having no prototype he is learning without a teacher. If I only had several thousand francs to apply to this study I would try to take a jump at this problem. I very firmly believe that I could put into practice the primary study I made thirty years ago, and so transform the parachute machine into a high speed airplane.

To do this, I would first need a place where I could build an airplane which has a surface of 40 m2 and a span of 15 meters. To build such a large machine aluminum would be absolutely essential and at its actual price of five francs per kilogram would not incur a big expense.

I need two large sized bicycle wheels to move the airplane on the ground. The floating system will be reserved for the large aircraft which I have in prospect but which will remain pending until I have been successful with my first experiment. The money to build it, after my success is assured, may be easily raised, even in Cairo.

Finally I shall make tests with rockets, various types of bamboo and fabrics. I also shall need workmen and watchmen; but all this ought not to run into much money.

The most delicate problem is the testing ground because I feel the same way as the American investigator who went out west in order to have no onlookers during his first trials when there are always some mishaps which give rise to ridicule. This would mean some expenses with which to figure, yet I think 2500 francs ought to cover them all. It is obvious that in case the experiment is successful, everything has to be done over again; but then the whole matter becomes easy, so one knows what it is all about, one knows pertinently that this is only a question of improving, in short of pure details, even if it means to rebuild from top to bottom. Finally, Otto Lilienthal has a good deed to his credit, as follows: I made a statement without any proof to support it, that the air carried me, now he is the one who demonstrated it; this is a point which is decidedly cleared up.

P. S. The small airplane you recommend would be alright if I were 25 years old again. I therefore have to get around the difficulty. For that reason I have been thinking of a boat. Noting however that this would be an expensive proposition, I have transformed it into a bicycle which by means of a rocket will move an airplane. These are nothing but simple adaptations. The airplane parts are not changed. Instead of a boat, two wheels have to be moved. The tests are made on the sand of the desert instead on water. The starting in this case may be somewhat harder if the airplane is not kept parallel with the ground. But sometimes this has to be done in order to have a greater range of vision while there is unrestricted vision on a boat.

Cairo, March 30, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I received your kind letter of March 9 and I hasten to answer the questions it contains.

Mr. B. Baker has arrived in Egypt about three weeks ago. He, as well as a French and German engineer received a call from the Egyptian government to give an opinion on huge reservoirs to be built as a means of flood control of the Nile river. This is a reedition of the ancient Lake of Mocris of Ousarirtoson II of the XIIth dynasty. The idea certainly is not a new one but practical just the same. The costs are estimated at from hundred to hundred and fifty million francs.

Although I am in a good position to know I could not make out definitely when Mr. Baker is going to leave. According to some sources it will be within a few days, according to a general rumor (local papers) it will be much later than anticipated because he is going to work out his own project for these dams. According to my own observations (I spend my forenoons in a room adjacent to that where the discussions take place) it seems that there is agreement between the English engineer Wilkocs about the examined projects and their investigation. I therefore think Mr. B. Baker will leave shortly.

The discontinuance of Lilienthal's experiments are puzzling. Does he perhaps make changes on his machine or build a new one?

I consolidate the adaption of my airplane to run on the ground. As far as it goes it will be very much simplified as a machine for the first experiment. But I am more and more convinced that in order to build a machine large enough to be used for practical flying, it will be necessary to take-off from water, to use aluminum as construction material, and automatic control devices. At the moment I am working on the demonstration machine only.

Latest report: The evening paper says that Mr. Benjamin Baker is going to leave on April 5th.

March 31, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I have just received your good letter of March 10. I am, just like you, all upset by your being prevented to see the Americans. I don't understand it, but you are right to say that there are other things to think about.

I regret very much not to be rich enough to be able to tell you to leave all your other interests, to go and establish yourself at the place most suitable for the experiments that you want to make, and to try one machine after the other until your complete success, or until you are convinced that you cannot succeed and that in the latter case I would be able to tell you that I would give you back your former position. That is what a group of amateurs would be able to do, and, as the French aviators are very vexed to be outdistanced by a German, they may make such an offer. In that case I will not be in your way, if I am not in the position to make the same proposition.

Passing on now to the things that you ask:

1. I believe very firmly that you must make tests yourself. As I wrote you, I am convinced that you understand gliding flight infinitely better than Lilienthal. But it doesn't follow from that, that you shouldn't publish your book for fear of giving him what he looks for. On the contrary, I think it good to make use of the interest for the subject at this moment to attract attention to yourself by publishing your book omitting the details of the construction of your own machines that you want patented.

2. I see that I didn't explain well what I meant about the airplane that will come down on the water. I simply think to delay that in order to have not too many complications in the beginning. Lilienthal climbs on a hill with a rudimentary machine, he gains speed by running (watch out for the rockets) and throws himself in the wind; later on, he will think of starting on level ground. Do like him, or start from a height or from a steamer and fall into the water which is much safer than landing on the ground. I am very much afraid for Lilienthal that he is going to break his legs next winter if he continues his exercises on the mountains of Rhinower. To glide against the wind that may be, but for the ascension and the gliding through (across) the wind, it's dangerous.

One of the things that I consider the most important is to have a very regular wind and not too strong. That is why, according to my idea, one risks failure if one makes the experiments in parts where there are no soaring birds.

3. I don't clearly understand what you mean that the whole of the airplanes that I prefer is very far from the one traced in blue that I received from you (for your patent). Do you mean that you have changed your opinion on the construction of the machine? In that case I want you to tell me your new ideas, (a) to have them included in the patent that you ask for in the United States and that I shall not pass on before I receive your answer, and (b) for my special information. I am not sure to have understood your idea very well and I may even tell you that I hadn't understood the practical construction of it by reading your book, and that is only when we got to the patent that I saw more clearly that which came out of your observing the birds.

4. I understand that a place in the desert to make the preliminary experiments is very tempting. There are two inconveniences: (a) the delays in making the repairs of the broken parts; it's of little importance; (b) the danger of not being well taken care of if an accident happens. That is important and if you decide to accept this place, I beg of you to make arrangements so that you are not alone. A practical surgeon or medic would be what you need even if you had to pay him money.

What makes me think of asking again how much these experiments will cost.

5. I don't think there would be any advantage for you to get in touch with Lilienthal now. If he breaks his leg, maybe then.

Have you received my letter of January 18 sending you the enlarged photos of Lilienthal's machine? In this case, write me some criticisms and tell me if you have understood the construction.

Have you received the 15 issues of the Cosmopolitan which have been sent to you from New York and from here. In this case are you satisfied with the engraver and the editor?

I also wrote to you February 9 and March 9. I believe that we would avoid misunderstandings if we would acknowledge receipt of letters with the dates.

Do you receive regularly "Aeronautics"?

I haven't yet received the paper of the passengers that you wrote me about. It will probably arrive one or two days after your letter.

If I find time, I'll make you a translation of Lilienthal's article that was omitted by Aeronautics in order to inform you well of what you are going to get in English in Aeronautics.

Cairo, April 20, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I am going to answer your kind letter of March 31 at once and am taking it line by line so as not to skip anything.

I have no sign of life of your American friends. I do not worry about them any more. The first blows of the desert wind caused every stranger to leave; none is to be found in Cairo; everything is very quiet. But it is not hot yet, 20-25° C at noon. However these winds from the south, south east, and south-west which passed over the desert sand are very uncomfortable, especially at night when they prevent sleep because of their electric action; then they carry much dust. This is the time to protect your eyes and watch out for fevers, etc. Even the small vultures are not pleased; they have to battle against wind which is too strong for their overstretched surfaces. This provides us with the spectacle of a permanent struggle for forward flights. Neither a large nor a small vulture is to be seen. This air current is too strong for beasts and men. There is a lesson to be learned of what to do when the wind blows too hard: To go outside only by walking where the wind will drive you. Even if one walks with the wind or if one tries to cross it, its velocity is remarkable ‹ 25 meters per second, which means about 90-100 kilometers per hour and perhaps more in high altitudes. These are not the regular winds of Egypt, but an exception, because of the equinox, the equilibrium to be established between summer and winter. The ordinary winds of Egypt are very much milder and more regular; they are entirely like those which I observed in France and in Algiers. Besides, if these desert storms should last long, they would force the small vultures either to leave the country or to impair their plumage. This climatologic digression is meant to convince you that the winds which predominate in Egypt, as far as velocity is concerned, are absolutely comparable with those of other parts of the globe. There is even a tendency toward a regularity which is not noticeable either in your country or in France, that is the absolute absence of thunderstorms, no thunder claps, no lightning. During the past 30 years I have experienced only four or five thunderstorms. There is only the perpetual and unalterable blue (of the sky), except for a few days in winter. The soaring birds of Egypt would elsewhere go through the same flight motions as they do here. According to your letters you seem to doubt this fact. In your country and in France there is no lack of proper wind, but the "professors" are absent.

1) I agree with you. As soon as I start to build I have to publish my book simultaneously. Between reading and understanding, between understanding without having seen and being convinced, and between being convinced and to decide to build, there is a lapse of time, too long to be overcome. However, I have to revise my book and add and change quite a bit. I shall present all the principles without giving any construction details.

2) Certainly, what I had in mind was the large airplane, consider the cost of this machine. I understand perfectly that it will take a long time and large capital in order to bring it to a successful conclusion. Yet I shall not be able to build it in Cairo. I think Paris may offer the best facilities. But first Lilienthal must be beaten and hundreds of kilometers must be flown. When this is accomplished one could devote oneself completely to the above task. Capital is going to flow in. For demonstration purposes I intend to build a bicycle to which I shall fit the airplane. In this way I will have launching facility - my muscular power (to cover 100 meters as fast as possible), and, if need be, the rocket. By the way, please tell me all you had in mind when you said "do not depend on rockets". It certainly would be better for takeoff and landing on water. But living aboard a ship, experiments on the Nile seem very expensive to me. I must have a "Dahabieh" and a crew for the itinerant sailors are not to be counted on; in short this will be for the time these experiments could be made.

3) I have no copy of the letter I wrote you, but I think I wanted to talk about Lilienthal's airplane. It cannot be any thing else. As to its application to the machine you are about to have patented, it would not be suitable for me, for the simple reason that the airplane has got to carry me and not vice-versa. The latter would be very good if I was 25 years old, but today I must resist doing so. To carry them (the airplanes) around is a memory of my youth. Besides it is not more than right; I had them long enough on my shoulders to know that they tire you out; it is their turn now to carry me.

4) The desert and its disadvantages of which you wrote are much attenuated in Cairo. The desert is at our door steps; it is reached by railroad and there are towns in the desert. I intend to select a place either in the northern part on the route to Matorich, or in the South at Helouan les-Bains. At Helouan I would be well fixed; there is a physician, a pharmacist, some friends who live there and who could help me with my experiments; the desert will be at my door and on this desert not a human soul; I therefore shall be unmolested. As to the job I mentioned, it is still very remote, depending on a political question beyond my control. This certainly would be the best position to come my way, and while holding it I could make my experiments at Helouan. I think that under these conditions and for that simple demonstration airplane 2500 francs would be sufficient. I intend to build it partly of aluminum, partly of bamboo, and even to use steel for the pivots and other points where no other material will do.

5) As far as Lilienthal is concerned, you are right when you say that he goes his way, and I go mine. This will be the best way out. As I stated to you previously, I received the two enlarged pictures of Lilienthal. Despite the enlargement I cannot understand at all his mode of suspension. It must be very bad and cannot maintain a position for a very long time. As I can see it, his vertical control is a result of the displacement of his body, but as you may have read in my second book, this displacement has little effect. The horizontal tail may produce it if the airplane is in a straight line but that is a very imperfect method. It seems to me that he gets horizontal control by means of the vertical control surface, which is another method that operates in proportion to the actual speed of the airplane. This is not the method used by birds. The two means which I use for this purpose are much more efficient and much more rational than his, because I have copied them from nature.

I am getting Aeronautics regularly. I am sorry to disappoint you about the passenger list. When I was about to mail it to you, I discovered that my housekeeper has used it to wrap up something.

You would greatly oblige me if you could send me a translation of that part of the article which was left out in L'Aeronaute. It is natural that I want to know all about my competitor.

It is really very annoying that we are unable to discuss matters orally for only a few days.

I thank you very much for the article. I received the 15 copies of the Cosmopolitan. I hoped they would photograph my drawings, but they copied them. It is hard to make a drawing of a bird. My drawings have a quality which makes the subject come to life; they were arranged this way. The artist who copied them has spoiled a good number of them especially those over which he was in a quandray.

April 24, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received your letters of March 23 and 30. Mr. Scott is back home. He told me that he did not get but one of your cards at the hotel and no letter at all. As he only had the address I gave him "Rue de l'Eglise Catholique," he set out with his dragoman to look you up. They got to an approximately square kind of a section where they asked for you from door to door without success. Then Mr. Scott left and sent the dragoman back alone to renew the search, but without any better results. He did not do what I told him to do, to send you a letter by mail and arrange for a meeting. So, at his great regret he missed seeing you.

Since this chance to form a group did not materialize, I am willing to do myself what I am able to do. I guarantee you the amount of 2500 francs which you estimated for the first machine, and to relieve you from anxiety an additional similar amount if necessary. At present I am unable to promise you to go beyond this, because of the state of my personal affairs. I shall send you the first 2500 within a month.

Please read once more what Lilienthal has to say about the hazard with machines which are too large. He started out with a 10 meter span and had to reduce to 7 meters. I am sending you a sketch I made so I might get an idea of Lilienthal's design; it comes pretty close to it. At present he builds a machine equipped with a 2 h.p. steam engine. This engine is installed only to actuate the wing tips, and we hardly shall know the results before next summer.

The Smithsonian which has the translation of "L'Empire de L'Air" has been published. I think Mr. Langley is going to send it to you.

I received two letters from people who read your article in the Cosmopolitan. These letters were addressed to this magazine for more detailed information. I answered both of them.

Cairo, May 18, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I received your very good letter of April 24. I thank you infinitely for your kindness to me. So I will be able to produce something other than phrases.

It is a test airplane, that is understood, but in spite of that my objective is to produce a course of flight with an average wind that I will choose of about 5 meters. This word "course" includes the ascension, the penetration, the complete flight less the difficulties that are the very strong winds to which I will not expose myself with this apparatus, which couldn't with the existing mechanism resist those, for the variations of the center of gravity and of the surface will not be accentuated enough to permit it. I only wish to do the first hours of flight, once propelled, carrying well on the air, possessing well his skill as a bird as I possess it, in a comfortable position. (I am astride.) I believe that after a few experiments to get used to the sensation of the empty space one can stay long in the air. To be stationed in the air is to be moving; it is covering much distance unless one practices the parachute which I am not going to do. In order to prevent falling, in order to make it impossible, I intend to leave from the flat ground slightly inclined. It is probable that by the single action of the velocipede , the incline helping somewhat, I will attain a speed of 5 meters per second against a wind of 5 meters per second. That doesn't seem exaggerated to me. In that case this running against the wind, the wings full at the back, if at the moment of the greatest speed I bring the points in front I must be carried by the air like the birds are carried. Once in full support, it is my knowledge of flight that must inspire me. It is for this that, although I shall be assisted by young and active friends, I will not let them try this machine because I am conscious that they don't know and that the occurrence of wind or of unbalance would catch them by surprise and would be very dangerous.

To get used to this strange movement I wish to practice first the speed at a very low height from 10 to 20 meters and to begin to climb by means of spirals only much later, after being convinced to have done it against the wind directly like the pendion fluviales. In the desert I shall meet all these conditions I wish for, and above all solitude. If I act progressively and prudently I believe there is no danger.

May 24, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I just returned from Denver (close to the Rocky Mountains) where I suffered the loss of the oldest of my grandchildren, a 10 year old boy who gave hope to great intelligence.

On my return I found your kind letter of April 20 and I am enclosing herewith 2500 francs for your experiments. I only ask you for two things: 1) To send me drawings and descriptions of your machines as the work progresses. 2) To keep me posted of your results.

I asked an aluminum manufacturer to send you samples of his products and to write me a letter for you which I shall translate and mail to you. Here are the answers to your questions: 1) I told you not to depend on rockets because they do not always push straight; the slightest imperfection in the tube makes them deviate; this happens so fast that there is no time to adjust the carrying surfaces. Rather make use of gravity and especially take off from the top of a hill, the same as Lilienthal, in order to get into an ascending current. 2) On April 27, I mailed you some sketches showing Lilienthal's machine. I enclose in this letter a translation of a letter I received from his brother. In "Aeronautics" you may note an English translation of his complete article and I am going to translate for you those parts which have been omitted or poorly interpreted in L'Aeronaute which I believe you get regularly. I am sending you a write-up of an English paper on your article in the Cosmopolitan.

My own articles, which I sent you, attracted some interest and have been reprinted in book form, of which I am sending you a copy. At present I am taking a rest and I do not want at all to apply myself so continually to aviation for fear to become erratic over this subject. Yet I had an idea, different than yours, which I intend to try out; but this will be left for later on when I am my old self again.

N.B.: See in my book on page 263 where I indicate as the best way to experiment is to use the idea of Le Bris and leave from a steamer going against the wind.

Berlin, May 5, 1894

Gustave Lilienthal to Octave Chanute

As my brother, Mr. Otto Lilienthal, does not write English, I kindly ask you to accept my answer to your friendly letter of March 12.

We are pleased to learn that with the purchase of my brother's book "Der Vogelflug" you are ready to study our experiments.

Indeed we would like to see them repeated on a larger scale by somebody who has greater resources at his disposal.

Our means for the experiments are very limited and we even have less spare time to be devoted to this diversion. Contrary to what has been published in certain foreign papers, we have not received the least assistance from any branch of the government whatever.

The Emperor's recent gift to the Aeronautical Society has been used to purchase the balloon "Thoemi" as a replacement of the balloon "Humboldt" which was destroyed by fire.

Our experiments with fixed wings have been discontinued and flapping wings will be substituted. We started out with the latter type, but had to stop, because shape and equilibrium had not been sufficiently investigated. The latter difficulty has been overcome, so that we now can try flapping wings again.

There is a hard road to be traveled, but we do not follow it without some guidance, although we would be pleased to have more than what our own studies have provided.

We shall be very glad to see the publication of your investigations, and we note with great pleasure that you are going to send us a copy.

Very sincerely yours, (Signed) G. Lilienthal

May 25, 1894

P.S. Mr. Mouillard - I received a letter from Mr. Whittlesey. The examiner has changed his absurd viewpoint in regard to your patent, but now he raises objections against claims 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 17, 18, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 24. Mr. Whittlesey asks for my suggestions. I believe I have to go to Washington to fight, as I did when I went there previously.

See the article in the April issue of Aeronautics page 86: "The Attitude of the Patent Office Towards Flying Machine Invention." 0. Chanute

Chicago, June 2, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I wrote you on May 24, enclosing in the letter 2500 francs for your experiments. Today I mail you the translation of the parts omitted from Lilienthal's article which was published in the January number of L'Aeronaute. It would be interesting to you if you read both together, to give you an idea of the true purpose of this article. You will note that Lilienthal openly invited amateurs to make experiments similar to his, without however divulging the construction details of his machine.

When I received the drawings of your patent, I believe I wrote you that you will not be able to glide with flat surfaces and without a starting run. These were theoretical views, but they are fully confirmed by what Lilienthal has to say.

From Mr. Whittlesey I got the details and the chicanery put up by the Patent Office. I am going to answer him and later on I shall go to Washington myself.

Cairo, June 13. 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

An hour ago I received your kind letter. Knowing that you are worried about the punctuality of our mail delivery, I hasten to acknowledge receipt of your draft of 2500 francs on the Credit Lyonnais in Cairo and wish to thank you for it from the bottom of my heart.

I also received your book "Progress in Flying Machines." I glanced through it, and by means of the table and the illustrations I could form an opinion about it. I wish to express my very sincere compliments to you. It seems to me that it is a complete historical account of the problem up to date. It is unfortunate for me that I am so ill-adapted to the study of languages. I have started to study English twenty times, and twenty times I had to give up, which proves that I have not the slightest talent for languages.

You asked me to keep you posted on the way the money is used with which you so kindly entrusted me. I had in mind to do the very same thing and you may rest assured that I shall not fail you; that is the least I can do. In this connection and in reference to the aluminum manufacturer will you please find out whether what I read in "L'Année Scientifique" of 1894 is correct. According to this annual the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. of Pittsburgh are actually making a new aluminum alloy ‹ aluminum and titanium which it seems ought to become of great industrial importance. According to Professor S. P. Langley this alloy has considerable strength, etc. This may then be the alloy Mr. Langley used for his machine ‹ a type of aluminum which would have the strength and elasticity of steel. I was looking for such a material at Lyons but it has not yet been developed there. If the statement about the Pittsburgh firm is true please have them send me some samples of their product to enable me to form an opinion of its strength. I believe this is the material I am looking for because plain aluminum seems to be too soft. Mr. Hureau de Villeneuve whom I asked for addresses of manufacturers of aluminum tells me that this metal is not durable; he ought to change his view on the above alloy. It has to be seen and studied. Will you please excuse me for asking you to do me this favor; kindly blame it on my ignorance of the English language. Continuing with the reply to your letter, I wish to say that I shall put the rocket in a rigid iron pipe which will correct the direction in case the rocket should burn sideways. I am going to build an airplane equipped with bicycle. For the-take-off run I shall have the action of my legs of which I do not expect much on level ground; but I will have to make use of it going down an incline to increase the speed. Once I know how to fly, when I have familiarized myself with the empty space, the rocket will be used as an emergency as this certainly will be the quicker way to get into action again especially when I am unable to land on an incline. I consider a steam ship to be very good. However, in order to make use of it we need a seaplane and a steamboat. Let us postpone it until some other time.

It must be very, very hard to see a grandchild pass away. As I never had any children I do not know this grief, but I can well understand it.

June 15, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received your kind letter of May 18. The plan you have laid out for your experiments seems very wise and well conceived.

Regarding the construction of the machine. Some time ago you asked me to send you a sample of a sheet of the alloy steel and aluminum. But as this alloy did not give the expected results I had to wait for new experiments.

I am sending you a sample of nickel-aluminum alloy. This alloy has been perfected so recently that it is not even described in the manufacturer's catalog. I am sending you this catalog as well as a letter he wrote me, and its translation.

You know that up to now aluminum has not yet taken the place of steel. True, it weighs less, but it also is less strong. Furthermore the weight necessary to resist a certain load would be about the same as that of steel. Alloyed with nickel, aluminum surpasses steel, but in a very small proportion, as you will see in the company's letter.

If you should decide to make use of this metal I could send you the panels you need. But I tell you frankly, that for an experimental airplane which is certain to be remodeled time and again, I would use bamboo which you should find excellent.

In order to do this, I would superpose the wings at a distance equal to their width. In this case they would not affect one another. I also would connect them together by means of St. Andrew's crosses. This is the idea which I mentioned to you in one of my letters.

If you have somebody who understands English let him explain to you the aluminum catalog. It contains the most recent developments in industry.

Original of a Letter from the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. Chanute translated and sent to Mouillard.

Pittsburgh, May 31, 1894

Mr. Octave Chanute
413 E. Huron St.
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Sir,

For your information and that of your friend Mr. L. P. Mouillard, Rue de l'Eglise Catholique, Cairo, Egypt, I have the pleasure of sending you a copy of the catalog of the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. I also mailed you a sample of laminated hard aluminum. This is in angular form, and shows the way it may be soldered.

Pure aluminum in sheets or in bars, has a tensile strength of from 14.06 to 17.57 kilograms per square millimeter and a limit of elasticity of about 50 percent of that of fatigue fracture.

The tough alloy which we call Nickel Aluminum has a specific weight of from 2.8 to 2.9 in laminated bars, and a tensile strength of 28.12 to 35.14 kilograms per square millimeter.

Pure aluminum will withstand a pull of at least 2.1 kilograms per square millimeter, while with Nickel Aluminum this load is increased to from 4.2 to 5.62 kilograms per square millimeter. For compression and transversal loads we could furnish a very rigid and tough metal which has approximately the strength of iron; however this is an alloy which contains only 75 percent aluminum, the rest are other metals. This is a cast metal; as a laminated metal, Nickel Aluminum is very rigid. In this direction we could demonstrate that when a hole of a diameter of 19 millimeters is bored in a sheet which is 6 millimeters thick, this hole may be enlarged to a diameter of 50 millimeters by hammering a conical tool into it without splitting or fracturing the sheet.

We also have tested Nickel Aluminum in regard to its bending strength and established the fact that it is not inflected more than steel whose strength is 46 kilograms per square millimeter at the breaking point.

We shall be glad to give you any other information if you so desire.

Respectfully, The Pittsburgh Reduction Co.

P.S. by Chanute: In another letter this company states that they could furnish aluminum (in quantity) at a price of 5 francs per kilogram for cast metal, to which is added to cost for rolling which varies slightly for sheets, bars, angles, and other sections necessary. See page 14 of the catalog.

July 5, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received your letter of June 13, and mine of the 15 (I also wrote on the 2nd) should have given you the information on aluminum you requested.

The weak point of this metal, even with nickel as an alloy, is its resistance to compression, and consequently to the transversal load which causes traction on the lower edge and compression on the upper edge. This is the reason why the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. gives a load of 4.2 to 5.62 kilograms per square millimeter, while a load of 10.59 kilos per square millimeter is carried readily by steel used for bridge building. I have no data at all on bamboo, but I note on page 100 of l'Aeronaute of 1875, that Penaud found out that "reed fibers of various density, but of 0.7 as an average, have a strength, also on an average, of about 19 kilos per square millimeter."

The density of the reed is therefore 0.7/2.8 = 1/4 of the density of aluminum, and as it has a tensile strength of 19 kilos per square millimeter; the same weight as that of aluminum should have a resistance of 19 x 4 = 76 kilos per square millimeter instead of 29.12 to 35.14 as given for aluminum. Therefore, the reed fibre, at the same weight, has a greater tensile strength than aluminum. Moreover, you will find in the March 1894 issue of Aeronautics the results of Prof. Thurston's investigation on aeronautical construction materials and the ensuing discussion. The best woods weigh about 1/10 less than steel and are about 1/5 as strong. Therefore, the weight being equal, they are stronger but they deteriorate quicker.

In case you make some preliminary experiments to determine the strength of wood or bamboo you have at your disposal, please inform me of the results. Facts to observe are as follows:

Species - condition - thickness, or weight per square millimeter

Tensile strength per square millimeter

Compression strength per square millimeter and proportion of length and lower part.

Transversal load strength, giving 1) diameter. 2) space between supports, 3) weights that cause fracture, 4) degree of bending before fracture.

Cairo, July 13, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

Have you ever had the experience that you thought to be ready to get things going, or only to make some drawings, and then discover that there are many points which have to be specified first, and many details which you have forgotten? That is just the position in which I find myself. I designed on paper, in full scale, and I want to tell you that this is not an easy matter. Then, as it will be I who has to make the experiments, I put myself under a serious examination about every maneuver it will be necessary for me to make; and to check on them, I watched how my neighbors, the kites do them. At this point I wonder how those who have no models will be able to succeed.

Having examined everything, I am well pleased with the result. There remains nothing to be done except to start building. There again your kind letter and especially the sample you enclosed have completely dispelled my ideas on aluminum. That is not at all what I am looking for. This metal is nothing but light lead; what I need is a strong and elastic steel. So let us forget the aluminum. Bamboo is in this way quite adaptable to replace this metal. Bamboo has its faults, but I have handled it for a long time and the problem will be to get around the difficulty. Therefore, I have to reconstruct the wings in my mind. This will be quickly done.

I do not plan to begin building before September because of a malady you do not know which manifests itself as a inertia of body and mind. The excessive heat is the cause of it. This year we have been hard hit. During most of the entire month of June we had 45° C. at 3 p.m. and 35° C. at daybreak, supposed to be the coolest time of the day. The heat reached even 47° C. and I would not want you to be exposed to such a temperature for such a length of time. As soon as perspiration stops, as there is no more cooling, there is mortal danger because of overheating of the blood. Also, I vowed to do what is possible, and appears like the impossible, not to spend another summer in Egypt.

I received the draft you sent me, and as I have no use for the money at present, I deposited it to my account with the Credit Lyonnais. In this way my mind is more at ease.

As soon as I have the design made, I shall send you a tracing.

Cairo, July 21, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I have already answered your recent letter (June 15), telling you that I have given up the idea of using aluminum. However, after careful consideration I have to take up this matter once more.

I received some more samples from Paris and from Marseille, which are even less fit for my purpose than the sample of the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. you sent me. The best of them is so brittle that it cracks when it is bent.

What I would like to get is a sample of about 0.15 x 0.10, the size of an ordinary sheet of writing paper, and to be about 0.0025 thick of the same metal of which you sent me a sample. Then another sample of the same size of an alloy which is stronger and stiffer, if they have it. Finally I want you to let me have the address of this company so I shall not always have to trouble you to write to them. I hope they understand French.

I want this thickness and this surface because this is the thickness I wish to use for the framework of the wings and for the fabric, so that I may be able to attach the plate well and to get a good opinion of its resistance.

I am always more and more determined to do the impossible, in order not to spend the next summer in Cairo. This is the hottest summer I have experienced since 1865.

I did not understand the last part of your letter which deals with the use of the St. Andrew cross. Are these the superposed airplanes? If so, I can only use them on the wing tips because of the requirements of control. Please give me a more lengthy explanation of this matter in your next letter.

July 31, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I have just received your kind letter of the 13th and I am convinced that you chose wisely when you decided to use the bamboo as I recommended to you in mine of June 5.

I feel sorry for the heat that you have to endure. We have had 37° C. here for several days, but the temperature has gone back to 26° C. since.

We received a dispatch from Brussels a few days ago announcing that Sunday, July 22, Lilienthal's wings had folded one on top of the other, the same as for your accident on your page 248 and that he has been precipitated from a height of about 30 meters, the fall having been softened, but Lilienthal badly hurt.

A dispatch from Berlin of the 25th tells us that there is nothing to it, that indeed there has been a slight fall, but that Lilienthal is not hurt, and that his machine has been only slightly damaged. I am sending you the London message which confirms that from Berlin.

Still I want to urge you again to make your experiments above the water if possible. See what I told you.

I still believe that an accident will happen to Lilienthal this summer and in this case it will be up to you to solve the problem of aviation.

I see in the Aeronaute that in April Jobert proposed a machine with the aim of making experiments like those of Lilienthal, and that since then Mr. Pouchet also offered to repeat these experiments. Also that a man from Dartmouth (England) called Liewenthal has constructed a plane according to your theories. This latter plane seems much too big for me, and subjected to being thrown over by the inequalities of the pressure of the wind.

I don't hear anything being said about American experiments, and I haven't heard yet anything from Mr. Whittlesey, who has sent new observations to the Patent Bureau in order to obtain your demands. I do not press him because your interests are covered for America.

August 15, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received your letter of July 21. I wrote to Pittsburgh for the samples of aluminum and I'll send them to you as soon as I get them.

You must have received my letter of July 5 in which I make the comparison of bamboo with aluminum and of wood with steel, comparison which brings out the inferiority of metal for light construction. Since then I have examined the result of tests of bamboo in compression which indicate that it is superior, at equal weight to the metallic tubes, if one has selected the bamboo but that there are enormous differences if one does not select it carefully. I am more and more convinced that the bamboo is preferable for you to the aluminum. It is also the solution that Lilienthal adopted when he constructed with bamboo.

Regarding the superposed planes that I proposed to you I don't see how they can interfere with the direction. I thought that the plan of the airplane would be the same, as shown here, and that the principal arms would alone be made

Plan seen from below.

against the wind, whether you place them diagonally, or on the forward edges, as I would prefer.

Elevation seen from front

The arms of the upper wings would be linked to the lower by bamboo vertical stems, a a , and pullers, b b , forming St. Andrew crosses but this resistance to the wind would not be carried to the end so that the flexible part of the wings could rise under the pressure of the wind, in c c , and add to its stability. The rearward edges of the wings, d d , would also be flexible, like those of the birds and would rise up under pressure or from the speed, that would not hinder in any way the steering because you can either move forward or backward the ends of the wings on the central pivot and let the directing planes act on the rear section of the wings, while you would have a rigid construction of the arms which would diminish by half the spread and consequently the weight of 3/4. The two series of wings must be separated one from the other at a distance at least equal to their breadth.

Cairo, September 21, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I received your kind letter and two samples of al. (If you permit, we shall abbreviate this long word by using al which is so much shorter.)

I tried these two samples and I find that they do very well for me. I received about 10 others from European factories but they are far from being as good as those from Pittsburgh. As they are, they will be all right. So please ask them for: 1) a sheet of 1 meter long and 4.25 m. long and 0.0025 thickness similar to the sample that you sent me. It is the one that is rigid, blue in color (at the factory they must be able to recognize it), there will be no error. (It is to make the frame work of the wings.) 2) A sheet of 0.75 to 1 m. of soft al of 0.0025 - it is the one that bends under the pressure of the hand, it is white, slightly yellowish, like silver. I want to use that one to make strong connections. No. 1, the rigid one, cannot be bent by hand in the shape of the sample whereas the soft one is easily shaped by tightening your hold a little. 3) Two square meters of al, soft, of 0.001 thickness. 4) Wires of soft al -

10 m of .002 in diameter to make rivets
50 m of .0015 in diameter
100 m of .001 in diameter to fasten the net of the wings.

5) Welding or their formulas for these two kinds of al, 2 kg of each and some explanation of the way to use them (so that one has not to look for it).

I attach to the present a check on the Credit Lyonnaise to your order of 250 fr which seems to me about to the amount of the bill according to the price of 5 fr that you indicated to me at your first shipment (the sample of welding).

When it has been constructed I will take one single photograph and send it to you. I am not very much afraid of indiscretions for I am convinced that the real safeguard of this apparatus is "the knowledge of flight."

The temperature has decreased a great deal. We have from 25 - 35° C. I am getting over the effects of this terrible summer weather. I hope to be in good health this winter to try the experiments. I am well for the season.

October 10, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received last night your letter of September 21 and have just sent your check and your order to the Pittsburgh Reduction Company. I am very happy to hear that your health is good and I wish you the best of success.

I should prefer very much that you send me blueprints of your plans and sketches rather than a photo. One doesn't understand much from photos, as witness those of Lilienthal.

I just received a letter from Whittlesey of the 8th. The patent bureau refuses our 1. - 23 and 24 demand (see your copy in the translation of July 24, 1892). The other claims are accepted, after much chicaneering of which I told you in my letters and for which we changed a word now and then, still taking care of all your interests.

As I wrote you some time ago, I doubt if I can obtain such wide claims, but Mr. Whittlesey proposes to appeal to the chief examiner and I sent him 100 frs for expenses. I suppose that I will have to go to Washington to plead your cause before the chief examiners and I'll let you know the results.

Regarding the lubricator, we are at the end of our rope. The Bureau has enumerated a good number of American and English patents which propose different systems of pipes to lubricate the keel of the boats. We have been obliged to fall back on the system which consists in emitting an emulsion of sea water and any kind of oil for that effect and now the Bureau tells us about the English patent of Richard Hurot, No. 14747 of 1890 that describes a system to apply an emulsion of water and oil through pipes placed on the keel of the boats. Whittlesey thinks that we should abandon our claim; and here are 250 francs gone over the dam that has not been lubricated.

Lilienthal sent the plans of his machine to two American engineers, one in New York and the other in Massachusetts. The first constructed a machine 6 meters wide, weighing 12 kg and used it with success. He gave me the details of it. I am not yet corresponding with the other one.

Cairo, November 2, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I received your kind letter of October 18 and I see there all the troubles that you have with these patents. I cannot be of any use to you in that affair and I confess that I think of nothing else than the airplane. From the day that I get the aluminum from Pittsburgh I will be in the midst of constructing. The threading is finished for 10 cm of screw. I think that the whole will be finished by the end of January and that at that time I will be able to try it out. I am certain that something will come out of these experiments. What? It is very daring to conjecture; it would be selling the hide of the bear before killing him. But certainly there will be news.

Referring to that, I wish you would tell me that you are coming to Cairo this winter. I should be happy to see you watching these tryouts. If, unfortunately for me, you cannot, you may be sure that I'll keep you informed of each experiment and that at the first serious flight I will send you a wire to come before disappearing from this world to continue my studies and to perfect myself in the flight - that will give time to the gentlemen delivering the patents to think it over and to form an opinion.

I asked you some time ago to look for a money-making use of this flying machine, Having my mind absorbed by the construction, I haven't found a new source of income. You have perhaps been luckier than I and I beg you to tell me what you discovered.

I would not like to play the clown or be a smuggler; in short, I would not do anything improper. I certainly would like wealth, but honestly obtained, money of which one can be proud.

I am still on that question; I am thinking of using the airplane for the following uses:

(1) With my knowledge of geology and mineralogy, to hunt for precious metals in inaccessible places; those places where one man alone can do a lot of work in a short time.

(2) The hunting of whales (cetaces) would seem to be lucrative even in seas where they are not hunted on account of their scarcity. This apparatus would enormously facilitate their search and would make their escape nearly impossible.

(3) And last, if I am able to construct this big machine, I will realize my last whim in Mr. O. Chanute's company in a journey to the North Pole. I believe that the publication of an account of this journey would be a money-making project.

If you can send me details of Lilienthal's glider (sent to the two Americans), especially the one of 6-meter width and 12-kilograms weight, you would afford me great pleasure.

In conclusion, I can only say that I am in a state of mind to dare a great deal. The least success would greatly help the success of all the other questions.

Chicago, November 21, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

Your kind letter of November 2 arrived at the moment when I was worrying about you. The Pittsburgh Reduction Company accepted your order and we exchanged one or two letters concerning the official documents to the Egyptian government for sending the parcel. Not hearing that the shipment had taken place, I wrote to the Company the 12th and I am sending you the translation of my reply.

It seems that you have ordered larger sheets than those used up to now in the business and that the Company is puzzled.

I answered them that I believed that the large sheet would be divided in two, but that I didn't know if this division would be made on the transverse or the diagonal, that I believed the latter case to be the right one, that the other sheet could be a

little narrower and a little longer, but that because it would take many days before getting an answer from Cairo, I begged them to reconsider the difficulties and to let me know if they could not be overcome. I have no answer yet and I just wrote again. I hate to change your instructions, but I know how important it is to make the shipment as quickly as possible. I'll write you again as soon as I have an answer from the Company.

Chicago, November 2, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis Pierre Mouillard

In answer to your question about the lucrative uses of your machine, if it succeeds, it always seemed to me that profit would consist in selling the machine either to the Government (especially in Europe where war is imminent) or to the fans who want novelty.

For,that, one should patent everything that cannot be kept a secret, and organize a company for these patents. It is always the producer who gets the benefit of an invention, but it is very possible that by turning these patents into business shares, one could sell these shares at a good price before even many machines are sold. If there are clients who will use these machines to discover mines otherwise inaccessible, for the hunting of the big whales, or for a journey to the North Pole, so much the better - that will bring other buyers, but you have all your time taken up in improving your machine, in taking care of your interests, and in instructing the professors who must instruct the buyers.

The appeal for your patent has been discussed before the chief examiners the 15th of last month. The decision has not been announced yet. I couldn't go to Washington on account of engagements here, but I reviewed the brief of Whittlesey and I sent him some notes. I think that we will obtain all that is important.

I wrote Mr. Whittlesey to put the patent into the secret archives. That gives us six months for a patent in Europe and I want you to let me know what you think should be done in this regard. The European patents will cost about 10,000 francs. One can economize this sum by taking only the most important countries, but one is open to the competition of the makers in other countries, and somebody buying a plane in Sweden, for example, could use it in France.

I wish very much to come and see you in Cairo, first to see your experiments, then to discuss the financial questions, but I am afraid I cannot do it this winter. My wife doesn't want to make the voyage. Her sister is going to Mexico for the winter and she wants to go there too. In that case I'll go with her, because her health is not at all good.

Wishing to answer you at once to tell you how your order for aluminum stands, I have to postpone to a later date the translation of the information that I have on the American machine of 6 m. width and 12 kg. weight. It has just been broken by a gust of wind, but the maker is constructing another one that he thinks will be better.

Cairo, November 25, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I have no news of the aluminum. Your kind last letter informs me of your sending the draft to Pittsburgh on October 10. That is a month and a half ago and still nothing is in sight. I am beginning to get worried. However, since Pittsburgh is not next door and as the stuff is probably coming by slow conveyance, it may be that all that time is necessary.

I am taking advantage of a month's vacation that I have to do some building. I have ordered all the iron parts and the under-carriage wheels. I expect a good deal will be finished by about the fifteenth.

My health is excellent. I am doing exercises to get myself into action again, but I am not twenty anymore; these poor missing muscles are a rusty old man's; I am finding out quite a few places where some should be. Nevertheless, the aggregate is almost satisfactory. I catch myself climbing the stairs two at a time and running, which gives me an appetite such as I have not had in a very long time. In short, I expect that the extensors and flexors will be adequate to provide that demonstration.

Am I to have the pleasure of seeing you in Cairo this winter?

Did you read in the "Aeronaute" of November an article on the machine of Hiram Maxim, by M. Francois Colas? I think quite as M. Colas does; only he forgot something ‹ to ask him how he will manage the landing, for to run along the ground with railroad train wheels is not to be thought of. Which permits one to confirm that though Maxim is a very fine mechanic, he is a wretched aviator.

I hope, dear Sir, that you are well, that all your family are in perfect health, and that your business is going agreeably to your wishes.

November 29, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

The examiner is beaten, and we obtain our patent. Not quite absolute, not all what we have given, but almost everything that is useful. The claims that have not been accepted by the chief examiner are the No. 1, 9, 22, 23, 24 of the specifications that I sent you July 25, 1892. You'll see that the 19 that have passed will protect your machine adequately.

I believe that the Maxim quarrel has been useful to us. You will see in November's "l'Aeronaute" that he gave the examiner who told him the same silly tales as he did to you "that he couldn't rise without a balloon" a piece of his mind.

I wrote Mr. Whittlesey to put the patent into the secret archives, and I asked him to give me information about European patents.

I have a letter from the Pittsburgh Reduction Company that they arranged to laminate a sheet one meter wide as you asked and the shipment will soon be made.

I'll write you in a few days concerning the airplane of 6m in width.

Cairo, December 11, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I answer your letter of November 14th.

Here is how we get around the difficulty. I want: two sheets of rigid aluminum of 0.0025 thickness and in each one length 4.25 m. and width of the large side 0.42, at the small side 0.26, figure 1. (see p.196)

Plus two other sheets, also of the same rigid aluminum the same thickness, each 4.25 m., length 0.08 wide on one side and 0.06 on the other, figure 2. (see p.196)

The sheet of soft aluminum for which I asked can change shape without inconvenience; if it is 0.50 wide that is enough.

The rest of the order doesn't change.

I hope that the factory will not be inconvenienced by the size of the sheets or the size of the ingots. I would be very worried if the length would be too great. If through bad luck that would happen they would have to be cut in two, much as I regret it. I would be forced to resort to a seam with rivets or to welding which in itself would be a constant source of trouble for me, because I would always be afraid that the metal beam would break at this point. But as the translation of the letter to the Pittsburgh Company doesn't say anything about it, I hope it will not happen.

I will finish the "bicycle" so that there will be only the wings left to be done, which, once the aluminum has arrived, will not take long.

As for the mode of transportation for this box I believe it would be best to put it on a steamer for Alexandria or for the Suez Canal which would leave it at Port Said with my address in Cairo. The agent who would receive it there would send it to me after it is put through the Customs and I would get it; that would be quicker and less expensive than sending it by way of England and France.

I forgot a sheet of rigid aluminum to make tubes, which I cannot get ready made on account of the wrapping. This rectangular sheet would be 4.25 by 0.40 m.

Another idea to utilize this machine has been suggested to me. It is the exploitation of wood in high plateaus that cannot be reached in very mountainous country.

Now let me tell you that I am grieving to know that I will not have the pleasure of seeing you this winter. But at the first interesting development you may be sure that I will ask for your presence. Please give my regards to Mrs. Chanute with my wishes for her recovery and you, dear Sir, accept a handshake of your devoted.

When you are in Mexico, try look out for a way to see the Larcoramphe papa which is not rare in that country; you would have under your eyes a beautiful model of gliding flight. I believe that you have to go out in the country and attract it with dead animals.

These two drawings are not on a scale; it is only to indicate the shape of these sheets.

Cairo, December 20, 1894

Louis-Pierre Mouillard to Octave Chanute

I received last night your kind letter of November 29 that gives me much pleasure. Mr. Maxim has shown the way and the examiner is obliged to be more prudent which has been our good luck. One must pardon him, for this new field is not part of his knowledge. All's well that ends well.

The patent, excellent as it is, is little compared to the execution; there remains the flight. As I have an ardent faith, as I am conscious of knowing how to fly, and finally since it is the last important act of my life, I'll try, in cold blood, to be able to face this problem. So to you the patent, the commercial transactions of which I know nothing, and to me the flight.

It's useless to say again that all you have done is well done. We know each other well enough now I think so that we have no doubts about each other. For me it is like that.

I have a screw that turned out all right; I believe that it will work well. The two wheels are too heavy. I'll try them anyhow the way they are, ready to make them lighter or to change them if it is necessary. I found some excellent bamboo. As to my health, I feel better than I have in a long time; it's not surprising, we have at 10 a.m. 10° C. Such a temperature is good for invigorating a body weakened by the Egyptian summer.

December 22, 1894

Octave Chanute to Louis-Pierre Mouillard

I received your letter of November 25th and I have again been after your manufacturers of aluminum. I send you by same mail the translation of their answer, and I wrote them again. You must have received letters of 21 and 29 of November explaining to you the cause of this delay which has given me much trouble. I hope that you will have your aluminum in Cairo between January 20 and 30, but I can't give you a guarantee.

I also send you the details I promised you about the 6m airplane. They were spread over different letters that spoke about other subjects.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to know that your health is so blooming. That will contribute a great deal to your success, for Lilienthal and all his imitators complain about the gymnastics necessary for aviation.

On to 1895