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Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont (1905/1906)

Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont (1905/1906)

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In Paris, in 1905 or 1906, Alberto Santos Dumont invites friends to watch a Mercedes car race.

  • Handwritten letter from Alberto Santos Dumont to an unknown recipient.
  • One sheet, two pages.
  • 12.5 cm x 17 cm.
  • In French.
  • Paris, a Wednesday (mercredi, in French), with no information about the date.
  • Good state.
  • Unique piece.

Paris, le mercredi

Dear friend,

Come to my house
tomorrow at 9 ¾
Lemgruber will be
there and we from there
we will see the
120 mercedes and
Then maybe we will
take a walk

see you tomorrow

Santos Dumont

At first, this letter was quite enigmatic to me. Who exactly was this Lemgruber? And this Mercedes 12th or 120? In these cases, and being part of the pleasure of working with autograph documents, I decided to contact Mercedes in Germany, who kindly responded (translated):

Mr Meyer,

Thank you for your question.

According to our files, there was no official connection between Alberto Santos Dumont and Mercedes-Benz.

He is probably referring to the 120-HP Mercedes races of 1905/06.

There is no other explanation we can think of and, being an inventor, these powerful cars may have been of interest to Santos Dumont.

Yours sincerely

Christian Biederstaedt

Mercedes-Benz Classic

Archives and collections

It is worth remembering that motorsport was still developing at that time. It is estimated that there were less than 5000 cars in Paris. This new means of motorized transport and its progress greatly interested aviation pioneers, especially the engines. Races in the Mercedes 120, the most powerful cars of the time, attracted crowds in France, as they were the first competition car races, the precursors to the current Formula 1 World Championship.

I then deduced that this letter could be dated 1905 or 1906, at the high point in the life of Santos Dumont, who performed - or was going to perform - his historic flights on October 23 and November 12, 1906. He had a social life intense and lived with other pioneers and friends passionate about mechanics, French and foreign. Among them were the recipient of the letter and Antônio de Avelar Lemgruber (1877-1920), grandson of the Viscount of Ubá, mentioned by Santos Dumont, another motorsport fan.

An anecdotal detail, the precision of Santos Dumont: come to my house tomorrow at 9 ¾. The paper used for the header is also unique. I've never seen another letter from Santos Dumont using the same thing. Last but not least, the big and beautiful signature, which also caught my attention.

Anyway, here we have a very important letter given its date, where we can clearly feel the inventor's enthusiasm for what he is experiencing, about to change History and honor Brazil.

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