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Louis P. Christman, 1903 Wright Flyer Drawings

Identifier: MS-477

Scope and Content

The collection contains only drawings; no other supplementary materials are contained therein.


  • Creation: 1947-1951


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Louis P. Christman

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

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

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

In June of 2013, Special Collection and Archives purchased at auction Christman's original pencil drawings of the 1903 Flyer's engine support rails, an original pencil tracing of Flyer's wing ribs, and 23 "working" drawings made from the original '03 Flyer including notations by Orville Wright and Christman.


3 linear feet

Language of Materials



Orville and Wilbur Wright never constructed a complete set of drawings for any of their flyers or gliders. In the mid-1940s, friend of the Wright's, Edward Deeds, commissioned Louis P. Christman, to complete, not only a set of drawings for the famous 1903 Flyer, but also the 1900, 1901, and 1902 Gliders, and the 1903 and 1904 Flyers. This collection contains Christman's original drawings of the 1903 Flyer's Engine Support Rails and Wing Ribs. In addition, the collection also consists of 23 blue-line or "working" drawings of various parts of the 1903 Flyer.

Statement of Arrangement

Due to its small size, no series or subseries for the collection has been established. The collection maintains the original order of its creator and is organized simply by the drawing itself. The 23 working drawings maintain the organization of Christman as well, who identified each with an alpha-numeric code, e.g. "B-2, Upper Center Wing.

Acquisition Information

Materials were purchased at auction from Cowan's in June, 2013.

Related Material

MS-1, The Wright Brothers' Collection MS-286, Charlie Taylor - Howard DuFour Collection

Processing Information

Processed by Gino Pasi, November, 2013.

Guide to the Louis P. Christman, 1903 Wright Flyer Drawings (MS-477)
Finding aid prepared by Gino Pasi, 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA