Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Today in History: Orville Wright

Orville Wright, the younger of the famous Wright brothers who designed the first airplane to make a sustained flight, was born on this date in 1871.  His brother Wilbur was four years older.  See here for an interesting biography of Orville (and the opportunity to connect to interesting biographies of other members of the Wright family -- click on "History and Culture" to the left and then on "People").

I, at least, tend to think of events like the Wright brothers' historic flight as feats of adventure.  An adventure it was, but the Wright brothers were practical; not only did they study the work of other aviation pioneers, even going so far as to write the Smithsonian Institution that would one day own their historic airplane, but they were so wary of competitors that they refrained from conducting flight tests between late 1905 and spring 1908 while some of their patents pended.  The romance of the skies, tempered by a dose of business-world reality.

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