Wilbur and Orville Wright

The brothers who gave the world wings

First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 17, 1903, Orville piloting, Wilbur running at wingtip.

Wright Brother's Timeline:

  • 1867 — Wilbur Wright is born near Millville, Indiana.
  • 1871 — Orville Wright is born in Dayton, Ohio.
  • 1878 — Wright brothers build their first aircraft, a rubber-band powered helicopter they call a "bat."
  • 1885 — A sports injury leads to health problems that prevent Wilbur from attending college.
  • 1886 — Orville starts a printing business while he is still in high school.
  • 1889 — Orville publishes a newspaper, the "West Side News," and Wilbur joins him as editor. The newspaper business does not profit and the Wrights return to "job" printing.
  • 1893 — The Wright brothers begin to sell and repair bicycles.
  • 1895 — The Wrights manufacture their own bicycles, the "St. Clair" and the "Van Cleve." The bike business is profitable.
  • 1896 — The Wrights take an interest in the "flying problem."
  • 1899 — Wilbur devises an aerodynamic control system for aircraft and builds a kite to test it.
  • 1900 to 1902 — The Wright brothers fly gliders at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, refining their control system. At home in Dayton, Ohio, they build a wind tunnel and conduct research on wing shapes.
  • 1903 — The Wright brothers make the first controlled, sustained powered flights at Kitty Hawk.
  • 1904 to 1905 — The Wrights develop a practical airplane near Dayton.
  • 1908 — The Wright brothers demonstrate a two-passenger airplane in Europe and America.
  • 1909 — The Wrights begin to manufacture airplanes.
  • 1912 — Wilbur Wright dies of typhoid in Dayton, Ohio.
  • 1915 — Orville Wright sells his airplane- company.
  • 1932 — The Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk is dedicated.
  • 1938 — The Wright Bicycle Shop and Wright home are opened to the public at Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village.
  • 1948 — Orville Wright dies of a heart attack in Dayton, Ohio and the Wright brothers' first powered airplane, the 1903 "Flyer," is enshrined at the Smithsonian Institution.

"The Wright brothers, who accomplished one of the greatest technical achievements of all time, achieved what they did by reading widely and deeply."

- David McCullough, Author of the book The Wright Brothers

Read more about one of humanity's greatest achivements on their Wikipedia entry.