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Alberto Santos Dumont's family documents

Alberto Santos Dumont's family documents

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Two documents show the involvement of the Santos Dumont family with Uncle Alberto's dreams and efforts.

Two documents about the Santos Dumont family. One in French (1908, Paris, with a small explanatory note from the former owner) and another in Portuguese (1940, Rio de Janeiro). Postcard formats. Excellent states. Unique pieces.

We no longer need to introduce Santos Dumont. Everyone knows this brilliant Brazilian, a little French too, who contributed a lot to the invention of aviation and its machines that changed the world. But beyond what everyone knows, there are still many unknown details about the man, and also about those who accompanied and helped him in this great adventure.

This set of two documents is interesting from this point of view:

The first document is a letter addressed to Santos Dumont's sister-in-law, “Madame Santos Dumont, 5 boulevard St Marcel, Paris 13”, in 1908. According to what was explained to me by the family, this postcard was sent by a contemporary of Alberto, who he worked with his wife (a seamstress) in the factory of Henri Lachambre (1846-1904), one of the first French balloon builders. The Lachambre company designed all of Santos Dumont's balloons and had the American army and the first polar expeditions as customers.

The French content of the letter is not especially interesting in itself - it talks about the weather and the landscape. However, what draws attention is the image that shows Alberto in his seaplane and the backstage of Santos Dumont's exploits. In particular, all those more or less anonymous people who helped him make his dreams come true.

The second document is a rather enigmatic little note, signed by Paulo Santos Dumont, a nephew of Alberto Santos-Dumont, only son of Henrique and Amália. It comes from the archives of a leading French lawyer and politician, Henry Torrès. In the midst of World War II, this note caught my attention with the phrase:

"Following your advice, I'm going to work hard to see if I can find a device that will stop war."

Too ambitious or totally naive? It is not known which device Paulo Santos Dumont is talking about. But it is interesting to observe that this letter could have been written by the famous uncle, Alberto, also peaceful, and with that same spirit of innovation.

What few know is that the family continued Alberto's aeronautical adventure after his death in 1932. Henrique Uchoa Santos-Dumont, son of Luís, Alberto's other brother, founded the Empresa Aeronáutica Ypiranga (EAY) to build gliders and single-engine planes. In 1942, EAY was acquired by Companhia Aeronáutica Paulista, which continued the production of the EAY-201, renamed CAP-4 Paulistinha, one of the greatest classics of Brazilian aviation and still active in aeroclubs throughout Brazil.

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