WHAT DO YOU KNOW
December article on the Wright Bros in Europe focused on their activities in
France but also showed cards in evidence of activity in Germany and Italy.
It now appears that the German activity may have been on a larger scale.
In its small feature to commemorate the 100th anniversary, the
Deutsche Museum in Munich claims that German
production of Wright designs actually exceeded not only all other European
production but also the combined total of all such and USA based production. An
internet posting of a paper from a symposium on Wright history confirms that the
Wright business in Germany (Wright Gmbh) was both successful in its time and now
This paper says that production in its first year 1909/10 was 22 machines.
By 1910 one-third of all German pilots had trained on Wright machines.
This was a deliberate marketing strategy of the company, who offered a
“package” of flight training plus a new-build aeroplane at the end.
The reasons why the German operations have faded from memory seem to be
- Even at the time they had little publicity. German public aviation interest was dominated by the activities of Zeppelin. The Berlin based Wright operation would have had little publicity outside the capital, whereas the Wright operations in France were seen as of national importance.
- The Wright machines produced lagged behind the latest French technology.
- Nationalism would wish to play it down in later years.
- It was the practice for purchasers to use the Wright machine as a base for their own modifications, under their own names. This practice, inherited from automobile owners, proved fatal in many cases.
a series of commercial disputes, the Wright Gmbh business was absorbed by LFG,
later trading as Roland. The following
extra postcards of Wright activity in Germany are taken from “Grusse Aus der
Luft” (Greetings from the Air) ISBN 3-613-01336-3–
a history of German aviation on postcards. This volume has extensive coverage of
the pioneer period and also, unusually sportplane flying in the 1930s.
Postcard by Lierson, Berlin of Orville in flight at Johannisthal, Berlin
card from the Continental Compagnie of Hannover, supplier of materials
(Aeroplanstoff = fabric, wire ??) to Wright Gmbh
been contacted by a non-member Mr Guy
regarding cards published by his grandfather Ronald T.E Massey between 1920 and
1933. One definitely known to be by him is this card of an Instone Airlines
DH.34, assumed to have been done for the airline
text says Ronald Massey 23 Knightrider St London EC.4.
His grandson believes that other cards were produced of or for other
airlines, including Lufthansa, but no others are known with the photographers
name. However the style of the cards with a white border and title in white on
sepia is identical to the set of cards produced for Handley Page Air Transport.
Now both the Instone and Handley Page cards would be early twenties, before the
merger into Imperial. But if Lufthansa
was a customer this would indicate that cards were also produced in the late
twenties – possibly in a different style.
Massey can be contacted on the E-address above or by mail through the editor.
Below is a selection of the Handley Page cards in “Massey” style.
The back text on these says “Published by Handley Page Air Transport
G-EAPJ front and side
G-EBBG “Princess Mary”
G-EBBI “Prince Henry”