HOWARD HUGHES, Aviation Archive.
This amazing Archive consists of Patent Office Documents and Drawings of devices invented by Howard Hughes and his engineers, plus legal documents transferring ownership of those patents to Hughes Tool Company, signed by Howard Hughes. Though Hughes is often remembered as a millionaire playboy or a maverick movie producer or a Las Vegas hotel and casino tycoon, most of his career was spent in aviation development. Among his many aviation inventions were flush rivets, retractable landing gear, hydraulic wing flaps, and the flexible ammo belt used to feed ammunition to aircraft guns. During his time in the hospital following his near fatal experimental airplane crash, he also invented the modern, adjustable hospital bed. The lot offered here consists of documents relating to six of his patents, the most important of which is described simply as An Airplane" but was, in fact, his XF-11 Spy Plane. All of the documents offered here are original and in excellent condition, having been kept in someone’s files for many years. These documents cover the period from 1938 to 1943. The legal documents, including those signed by Hughes, are mostly 13"x 8." The patent certificates are 12" x 8" and usually contain several pages, bound with ribbon, with an engraving of the Patent Building at the top, and a large red official seal in the lower left. Some of these Assignment documents are also signed by Stanley A. Bell. We have been unable to find any useful information on him, other than that he worked for Hughes Aircraft Company, probably as a designer or engineer. One document is also signed by Glen E. Odekirk, who was one of Hughes Aircraft Company’s engineers. The consignor had no information as to the source of this archive, having obtained them in an auction of unclaimed items from a storage facility. Since many of these documents carry the name of Hughes’ attorney, we may speculate that these documents came from that law firm, had been put into storage, and abandoned.
1. August 9, 1943, Typed Document Signed, "Howard R. Hughes" and "V. E. Clark" and "Stanley A. Bell." This is a 2 page legal document, with 3" Hughes signature, transferring ownership of the patent for "An Airplane" to Hughes Tool Company. This patent was recorded on August 16, 1943 and the patent was awarded on November 14, 1944. The patent certificate included in this lot, consists of 4 interior pages (3 of drawings of the aircraft) bound with a purple ribbon to a wrap around card cover, the front of which is the actual Patent Certificate. The description of this invention fills less than half a page, when it should run for many pages. This must have been due to the fact that World War II was going on and this airplane was being developed as a spy plane for the military. Also in this lot is the original blue printed envelope in which this patent was issued, giving the relevant information on the front. Though being developed in secret during the war, the January 1945 issue of Aero Digest Magazine published a drawing of this spy plane, clearly taken from the 3rd page of this patent document, including its patent number. This aircraft, with distinctive double fuselage and 2 propellers on both engines, never went into production. The prototype was test flown by Hughes himself on July 7, 1946, but an oil leak led to a terrible crash in Beverly Hills, which damaged or destroyed 4 homes and nearly killed Hughes. A unique and highly important piece of Aviation History. (3 items).
2. October 12, 1938, Typed Document Signed, "Howard R. Hughes" and "Stanley A. Bell" and "Glen E. Odekirk." This 2 page legal document, with a 3.5" Hughes signature, transfers to Hughes Tool Company the patent ownership of "Method and Means for Dumping Fuel from an Aircraft." With this is a 24 page legal document (including 2 pages of drawings of the device), typed mostly on blue paper (probably a carbon copy), consisting of a long description of the device, a power of attorney (with secretarial signatures for Hughes, Bell and Odekirk), some oaths and an assignment, all with secretarial signatures. Also a November 9, 1938 cover letter signed by Ford W. Harris, of Harris, Kiech, Foster & Harris law firm, transmitting these documents to Hughes. In addition, this lot includes the actual Patent Certificate, consisting of 2 pages of drawings and 4 pages of description for the fuel dumping device, bound with blue ribbon to a wrap around card cover, the front of which is the actual certificate, dated May 19, 1942. Also the original blue printed envelope which contained the patent certificate. (5 items).
3. May 26, 1939, Typed Document Signed, "Howard R. Hughes" and "Stanley A. Bell." This 2 page legal document, sporting a 3.5" Hughes signature, transfers to Hughes Tool Company the patent rights for "Checking System for Aircraft." This was a system for reducing the number of gauges and indicators a pilot needed to watch during flight. With this lot is a set of 6 pages of patent drawings for this system. Also, the actual Patent Certificate, consisting of 3 pages of drawings and 7 pages of specifications, bound with blue ribbon in a wrap around card cover, the front of which is the actual certificate, dated July 8, 1941. And the original printed blue envelope which contained the patent certificate. (4 items).
4. October 19, 1939, Typed Document Signed, "Howard R. Hughes." This 1 page legal document, with a 3.5" signature, is signed only by Hughes. This document transfers to Hughes Tool Company the patent rights for a "Calculating Device" Hughes invented to help pilots calculate speed, distance and time. With this is another group of legal documents with the same date, consisting of 16 pages of specifications and an assignment, plus 1 page of drawings. Also there is a 5 page legal document typed on blue paper (possibly a carbon copy), being a "Final Supplemental Oath" by Hughes (signed in type). In addition, there are 3 letters concerning this calculating device, from Hughes’ attorneys, dated March 8, June 30 and July 8, 1941. Finally there is the Patent Certificate itself, dated September 16, 1941, with 1 page of drawings and 3 pages of text, bound with blue ribbon, and the certificate’s original printed blue envelope. (8 items).
5. March 5, 1941, Typed Document Signed, "Howard R. Hughes" and "Stanley A. Bell." This 1 page legal document, with 3.5" Hughes signature, transfers to Hughes Tool Company patent rights for "Apparatus and Method for Supplying Inhalant." This was an early form of an oxygen mask, developed while Hughes was experimenting with high altitude flying. With this is a group of legal documents of the same date, consisting of 21 pages of specifications and legal material, plus 1 page of drawings. (2 items).
6. July 18, 1941, Printed Document Signed, "Howard R. Hughes" and "Stanley A. Bell." This 2 page legal document, with 3" Hughes signature, transfers to Hughes Tool Company the patent rights for a "Dead Reckoning Navigation Device for Aircraft." With this is the actual Patent Certificate, which consists of 7 pages of drawings plus 13 pages of text, bound with blue ribbon to the actual wrap around patent certificate. Also, the original blue printed envelope in which this certificate was enclosed. (3 items).
In January 2007 the consignor submitted one of these groups of documents to PSA/DNA Authentication Services, and received a Letter of Authenticity dated February 1, 2007 confirming that the Howard Hughes signature is genuine. Since all these documents are clearly old and much the same in format, we have no doubts that they are authentic Howard Hughes Patent Documents.
Howard Robard Hughes was born on Christmas Eve 1905 and died April 5, 1976 in a plane somewhere over Texas. In between he established himself as a larger than life figure, pursuing his interests with determination and an independent approach. He began his career a wealthy man, having inherited his father’s Hughes Tool Company. An early interest in flying led to his lifelong fascination with aviation and his first movie production, "Hell’s Angels," which was the first movie to cost over $1 million to make. He went on to make other movies, including "The Outlaw" with Jane Russell. Lacking an engineering education, he taught himself what he could, and later relied on hand-picked engineers and designers, often picking their brains for information. When told something couldn’t be done, he challenged that conclusion, sometimes finding it was wrong, sometimes finding ways around it. He invented and patented many aviation developments. In later life he went on a buying spree in Las Vegas, buying up hotels and casinos. But most people probably remember him today as the builder of the "Spruce Goose," a huge transport plane he developed for the army during World War II, but which never went into production. Originally known as the HK-1 (named for himself and his partner in the venture, Henry Kaiser), the designation was changed to H-4 when Kaiser pulled out of the development. Built of wood due to a shortage of aluminum during the war, the plane was only flown once, on November 2, 1947, to prove that it could in fact fly. This plane, exhibited at Long Beach, CA for many years, and now in Oregon, is still today the largest aircraft ever built."