Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem lands one-of-a-kind thank you note

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - When the spirit of the sky met the strength of Bethlehem Steel, that's exactly what led to a historic flight back in 1927.

The National Museum of Industrial History has a historic thank you note for that moment 90 years later. 

"So this was sent after Charles Lindbergh completed the first transatlantic nonstop flight," said Glenn Koehler, museum marketing and outreach coordinator. 

The May 22, 1927 Western Union thank you telegram to Bethlehem Steel was from Wright Aeronautical, the makers of the plane's engines.

It was sent the day after Lindbergh made his famous nonstop 33 and half hour flight from New York City to Paris, France.

"Thanking them for saving Charles Lindbergh's life, for making such quality parts used in his plane," the telegram noted.

The telegram was recently donated to the National Museum of Industrial History by the son-in-law of a former Bethlehem Steel employee.

The telegram is signed by Earnshaw Cook, a young engineer who would later work on the Manhattan project, and who basically invented baseball's sabermetrics, the study and analysis of statistics.

Koehler showed 69 News a museum model of where Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis engine connecting rods would have been made and a giant steam hammer used to press them into place.

An example of history coming alive.

"You can read books all day long and they'll tell you a lot of information but unless you see the actual things that produce the steel and made history happen it really brings it alive a lot more," he said.

The telegram isn't yet ready for public display. But it certainly marks a time when the business of Bethlehem Steel, which also helped to build San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and New York City's Chrysler building, was sky high.

"Just goes to show the global and international impact of what happened here," he said.

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