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The Aeronautical Annuals of 1895-96-97 contained the best collection of reprints from the work of the earlier experimenters in aviation…, and I do not know of a better collection today. Your father showed rare good judgment in his selections, separating most of the good work from the mass of worthless matter which had been published. His work was of great benefit to us, and I think of my personal acquaintance with him with affection.”—Orville Wright, in a letter to James Means’s son Philip, dated November 12, 1921.
The Aeronautical Annuals of 1895-96-97 are among the most important pre-Wright era aviation books ever published. Prized by collectors, original editions are extremely rare; a pristine set could be worth $3,000. In commemoration of the Wright Brothers’ giving us wings, I am delighted to republish these treasures.
When Wilbur Wright wrote to the Smithsonian Institute on May 30, 1899 asking for information on human flight, they recommended the Annuals. These three volumes feature the plans, dreams, and schemes of some of aviation’s greatest visionaries—Da Vinci, Cayley, Henson, Maxim, Herring, Chanute, Lilienthal, and others.
The Annuals gave the Wrights a wealth of knowledge about the thinking and experiments which had been done up until that time—providing them with a foundation on which to formulate their own ideas. Each volume is packed with incredible information, drawings, and photographs, making them must-reads for all aviation enthusiasts.”—Mike Markowski, aeronautical engineer, pilot, author, and publisher.