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Wright Brothers Life as a Scrapbook

Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright - Newspaper clippings 1809 1979Created by: PICRYLDated: 1903
Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were American aviation pioneers who invented the world's first successful airplane. The Wright brothers were two of seven children born to Milton Wright (1828–1917), a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, of English and Dutch ancestry, and Susan Catherine Koerner (1831–1889), of German and Swiss ancestry. Milton Wright's mother, Catherine Reeder, was descended from the progenitor of the Vanderbilt family and the Huguenot Gano family of New Rochelle, New York.

Wright brothers gained the mechanical skills essential to their success by working for years in their Dayton, Ohio-based shop with printing presses, bicycles, motors, and other machinery. Their work with bicycles influenced their belief that an unstable vehicle such as a flying machine could be controlled and balanced with practice.

In 1900 the brothers went to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to begin their manned gliding experiments. The spot also gave them privacy from reporters. They flew the glider for a few days in the early autumn of 1900. Most of their kite tests were unpiloted, with sandbags or chains and even a local boy as ballast. In the first tests, probably on October 3, Wilbur was aboard while the glider flew as a kite not far above the ground with men below holding tether ropes. Wilbur made about a dozen free glides on only a single day, October 20.

In 1901 they built a glider with a much larger wing and made dozens of flights in July and August for distances of 50 to 400 ft. The glider, however, delivered two major disappointments. On the trip home Wilbur remarked to Orville that man would not fly in a thousand years.

To overcome the problems, they built a six-foot (1.8m) wind tunnel in their shop and between October and December 1901 conducted systematic tests on dozens of miniature wings. The tests yielded valuable data never before known so 1902 glider shown dramatic improvement in performance. The improved wing design enabled consistently longer glides led to a discovery of the true purpose of the movable vertical rudder: to aim or align the aircraft correctly during banking turns and when leveling off from turns and wind disturbances while the change in direction was done using wing-warping. From September 19 to October 24 they made between 700 and 1,000 glides, the longest lasting 26 seconds and covering 622.5 feet (189.7 m).

In 1903 the brothers built the powered Wright Flyer. They used data from more wind tunnel tests to design their propellers. The finished blades were just over eight feet long, made of three laminations of glued spruce. The Wrights decided on twin "pusher" propellers (counter-rotating to cancel torque), which would act on a greater quantity of air than a single relatively slow propeller and not disturb airflow over the leading edge of the wings. The Wrights wrote to several engine manufacturers, but none could meet their need for a sufficiently lightweight powerplant. They turned to their shop mechanic, Charlie Taylor, who built an engine in just six weeks in close consultation with the brothers. To keep the weight down the engine block was cast from aluminum, a rare practice at the time. The Flyer cost less than a thousand dollars, equivalent to $28,000 in 2018.

Their first powered test flight happened on the 121st anniversary of the first hot air balloon test flight that the Montgolfier brothers had done, on December 14, 1782 and they finally took to the air on December 17, 1903.

Five people witnessed the flights. The Wrights sent a telegram about the flights to their father, requesting that he "inform the press." However, the Dayton Journal refused to publish the story, saying the flights were too short to be important. Meanwhile, against the brothers' wishes, a telegraph operator leaked their message to a Virginia newspaper, which concocted a highly inaccurate news article that was reprinted the next day in several newspapers elsewhere, including Dayton.

The Wright brothers made no flights at all in 1906 and 1907. They spent the time attempting to persuade the U.S. and European governments that they had invented the successful flying machine and were prepared to negotiate a contract to sell such machines. Facing skepticism in the French aeronautical community and outright scorn by some newspapers that called him a "bluffeur", Wilbur began official public demonstrations on August 8, 1908, at the Hunaudières horse racing track near the town of Le Mans, France. His first flight lasted only one minute 45 seconds, but his ability to effortlessly make banking turns and fly a circle amazed and stunned onlookers, including several pioneer French aviators, among them Louis Blériot. In the following days, Wilbur made a series of technically challenging flights, including figure-eights, demonstrating his skills as a pilot and the capability of his flying machine, which far surpassed those of all other pioneering aircraft and pilots of the day. The French public was thrilled by Wilbur's feats and flocked to the field by the thousands, and the Wright brothers instantly became world-famous. Orville followed his brother's success by demonstrating another nearly identical Flyer to the United States Army at Fort Myer, Virginia, starting on September 3, 1908. On September 9, he made the first hour-long flight, lasting 62 minutes and 15 seconds.
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Die Gleitflugueverludie der Brüder [Raimund Rimführ, Die Zeit Vienne, September 1903]
Das Militar- Wochenblatt uber Orville Wright
[Cover, Automobilia, Paris]
France Won’t Buy Wright Airship [Ohio State Journal]
Boston’s Mayor Denounces Women as Unfit for Aviation
Will Endow Aviation [New York Sun, 8 July 1912]
Wright's Story of Great Flight [New York Evening Sun]
10,000 Soldiers Will March to ‘Seize’ New York [New York Herald]
Aeroplane Wright Achete Par Les Etats-Unis [L’ Auto, 10 December 1906]
Wrights Would Try for Large Prizes [Paris Herald, 18 November 1906]
Everybody Talks But Nobody Knows [News, 3 December 1906]
Wright Brothers Fear No Rival Aeronauts [Dayton Herald, 29 November 1906]
Mr. Wilbur Wright Makes Aerial Trip of 80 Miles [Paris Herald, 19 July 1907]
Progress of the Wright Aeroplane Experiments [Scientific American, 1908]
Wilbur Wright off for Europe [Dayton News, 22 May 1908]
Want Military Aeroplanes [New York Times, 6 September 1908]
Mr. Orville Wright Makes Another Flight [8 September 1908]
Wright Workshop Keeps Grinding & Hawthorne Street Is In Gala Attire [The Dayton Herald, 13 May 1909]
Young American Star Spangled Banner [Journal, 19 June 1909]
Wright Ignores All Hero-Worshipers [Dayton Journal, 3 July 1909]
Do Something!  When Dayton Received the Wright’s [28 May 1909]
[Second page of The Nation, State and City Welcome the World’s Greatest Aviators (Wilbur and Orville Wright), promotional material, 17-18 June 1909]
[The Wright Brothers Edition, The Dayton Herald, 16 June 1909]
Wilbur Wright declare… [Les Sports, 13 January 1909]
Hated to Disappoint [News [?], 27 July 1909]
A Week With Wilbur Wright [News Tribune Illustrated Edition, 17 October 1909]
[Articles from Dayton Herald, 16 June 1909]
Porquoi les aeroplanes so sont developpes si vite Le Matin, 27 September 1909
Off to Educate Folk in Aviation [New York Times, 21 November 1910]
Roosevelt in an Airplane [New York Times, 23 October 1910]
[Page 2 of the New York Herald, 23 October 1910]
Young Drexel's Flying School in Old England; Aviator Latham May Quit the Flying Game; and British Army Finds Airships Helpful [The World, 9 October 1910]
Star Flyers of France, England and America Enter Cup Race [New York Herald, 16 October 1910]
Fowler Still in Texas [New York Herald, 25 November 1911]
Hydro-Aeroplane Goes to Russia [New York Herald, 16 November 1911]
[Pages 1 and 2 of the New York American, 13 September 1911]
Aeronautics and Balloons Ready for the Great Race for National Honors Starting at Kansas City To-Day [New York Herald, 10 July 1911]
Eleven Aviators Fly Over Channel [New York Herald, 4 July 1911]
Woodruff Won’t Obey Bishop on Sunday Flights [New York American, 28 September 1911]
[Page 2 and 3 of New York Tribune, 1 January 1911]
Rodgers’s Biplane Wrecked [New York Sun, 19 September 1911]
Rodgers Off in Race, Flying Eighty Miles [New York Times, 18 September 1911]
Fowler Makes Flight [New York Herald, 20 November 1911]
New York Flyers Lead in Chicago; and English Aviator Off for Boston [New York Herald, 13 August 1911]
[Pages 1 and 2 of New York American, 16 September 1911]
Rodgers Delayed by Fall [New York Tribune, 19 September 1911]
[Page 2 of New York American, 11 September 1911]
The Combined History of the Wrights and Aviation [News, 31 May 1912]
[Pages 9 and 10 of the Sun, 18 August 1912]
Accident Halts Channel Flight [New York Herald, 11 August 1912]
[Article (untitled), 30 May 1912]
Wilbur Wright [Bieler Tagblatt…, 2 June 1912]
Scenes Photographed at the Funeral of Wilbur Wright [Dayton Daily News, 3 June 1912]
Tagesbericht [June 1912]
Miss Law Seeks a Record to Drive Aero a Mile High [New York American, 12 October 1912]
Revue Aéronautique- Des Derigeables [Feuilleton Du Journal Des Debats, 19 June 1912]
C.T. Weymann Wins Flight Over Sea; and War Squadron to Fly Labor Day [Herald, 27 August 1912]
Aviator Parmalee Killed When Wind Upsets Aeroplane [New York World, 2 June 1912]
Aviators Approve Refusal of Court to Issue Titles to the Sky [New York Herald, 10 July 1912]
His Place [cartoon, Spokane Review, 1 June 1912]
Wilbur Wright est Mort [Albert Surier, Paris Journal, 31 May 1912]
Holland’s Champion for Aviation Race Uses New German Machine [New York Herald, 17 March 1912]
Aviators Give Good Exhibition [New York Herald, 18 March 1912]
Development of Wright Biplane Shown in Pictures [New York Times, 12 October 1913]
Jules Vedrines Wins Aviation Cup Race for France at 105 Miles an Hour [New York Herald, 10 September 1912]
Grahame-White in Channel Flight [New York Herald, 8 July 1912]
Air Yachtsmen Saved, Tell of Hours of Peril [World, 13 October 1912]
L. Bleriot Back in Flying Contests [New York Herald, 10 August 1912]
Birdman Mars Sees Death Toll of 200 This Year [New York World, 17 March 1912]
[Pages 1 and 2, New York Herald, 8 September 1912]
Britain Begins Aeroplane Tests [New York Herald, 9 August 1912]
Gets Royalties on all Planes [News, 19 March 1912]
The World's First Flights [The Literary Digest, 3 August 1912]
Wrights Get Long Sought Patent on Stabilizer; and Mr. Wright Leads Air Safety Race [Herald, 8 December 1913]
Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Scrapbooks: January 1902-December 1908

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom Newspaper clippings from Les ... More

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Scrapbooks: January 1910-December 1913

Newspaper clippings from Illustrated London News made available here with permission from Illustrated London News. Picture Library, 20, Upper Ground, London SE1 9PF, United Kingdom

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