This is a rather whimsical piece of Automobilia............a presentation to Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, the World War I flying ace, at a special dinner in New York in 1924. The sheet inside the mat measures 11 1/2" by 17 1/2" ( 17 1/4" by 23 1/4" as framed). Written up in a humorous style, the note commends Rickenbacker for his flying victories and makes a number of humorous commentaries contemporary to the times, all referring to his then-budding career as an automobile manufacturer. Rickenbacker's career in the world of automobiles was quickly eclipsed by his career in commercial aviation, as he went on to start Eastern Airlines---this, after his illustrious time in military aviation, for which he is of course best known today as perhaps America's first "ace". There is an especially detailed biography of Rickenbacker on wikipedia. He was born in Columbus, Ohio to Swiss parents. Early in life he was fascinated by machines, enrolling in a correspondence course for engineering. Early autos, racing and other machines were of great interest. He was a racer even before World War I, when he became a war hero for his military experiences. According to the wikipedia information, "he started the Rickenbacker Motor Company in 1920, selling technologically advanced cars incorporating innovations from automobile racing. The Rickenbacker came equipped with the first four-wheel brake system. Probably due to bad publicity from the other car manufacturers, who feared they would be unable to sell their inventory of cars with two-wheel braking, the company had trouble selling its cars and eventually went bankrupt in 1927. Rickenbacker went into massive debt, but was determined to pay back all of the $250,000 he owed, despite personally going bankrupt (and therefore no longer being legally obligated to do so). Eventually, all vehicles manufactured in the U.S. incorporated four-wheel braking."
CONDITION: fair, with water stains at right as shown, a concave bowing towards the middle, and overall age browning. The signatures I looked at very, very carefully, in bright sunlight, and still I wasn't able to determine with certainty if they were original ink signatures. I leave open the possibility that this is a multiple, maybe one given to each attendee at the affair. The signatures' ink seems to be either very oxidized, or they are somehow mechanically reproduced. I cannot be sure. See the net for much, much more on the illustrious achievements of Eddie Rickenbacker.