The Original Collier Trophy, Awarded to Inventor William Lear for his Invention of the First Jet Autopilot

According to the New York Times, Lear became known in the aviation industry as "having contributed more to the safety of flying than any other man of his era.”

The list of Collier winners represents a virtual who’s who in aviation, as many of the awards mark major events in the history of flight

 

Very few have ever reached the market; this was acquired directly from Lear’s descendants and has never before been offered for sale

The Robert J. Collier...

Read More

The Original Collier Trophy, Awarded to Inventor William Lear for his Invention of the First Jet Autopilot

According to the New York Times, Lear became known in the aviation industry as "having contributed more to the safety of flying than any other man of his era.”

The list of Collier winners represents a virtual who’s who in aviation, as many of the awards mark major events in the history of flight

 

Very few have ever reached the market; this was acquired directly from Lear’s descendants and has never before been offered for sale

The Robert J. Collier Trophy is awarded annually “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.” The list of Collier winners represents a timeline of aviation, as many of the awardees mark major events in the history of flight.

In addition to being an aviator, humanitarian, and sportsman, Robert Collier was a prominent publisher whose family created the popular Colliers Weekly. While President of the Aero Club of America, National Chapter (now the National Aeronautic Association), Collier commissioned the trophy in 1910 with the intent to encourage the American aviation community to strive for excellence and achievement in aeronautic development. The 525 pound trophy was commissioned of Baltimore sculptor Ernest Wise Keyser and was originally called the Aero Club Trophy. It was officially renamed the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 1944 and put on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in 1951. A separate award, a miniature of the original, was given to each winner of the Trophy, since the huge original stayed in Washington.

When the Lear Jet first flew on October 7, 1963, there was nothing on the civilian market that could come close to its performance. Clint Allen, who wrote about the business of aviation for Forbes, called Lear’s jet a major turning point in flying history. Lear’s new plane, wrote Allen, “dazzled the world and changed business aviation forever, bringing unheard-of levels of performance, utility, practicality and affordability to the skies across America.” Suddenly anybody could own a plane and fly as fast as the airlines. The Lear Jet wasn’t the first civilian jet for sale, but the jets that came before were bigger, much more expensive and never came close to offering the same convenience as Lear’s smaller jets. The Lear Jet set the bar high for every jet that came after it.

Lear had a long history of innovation. After World War II he developed a lightweight automatic pilot and in 1949 announced the production of the Automatic Approach Control Coupler, or Lear Autopilot for short. This device could automatically bring an airplane into an airport in virtually any kind of weather. In fact, it was the first autopilot small enough and light enough to be considered for general-aviation use. For this and other developments, Lear received the Collier Trophy. For this invention, according to the New York Times, Lear became known in the aviation industry as “having contributed more to the safety of flying than any other man of his era.”

Lear was prolific, and invented the first viable car radio, which put its producer, Motorola, on the map. He later invented the 8-track player.

Raab is offering the original Collier Trophy awarded to Lear in 1949, acquired directly from Lear’s descendants, and never before offered for sale. Collier Awards rarely reach the market.

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Learn more about our Framing Services