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Orville Wright is best known for inventing the airplane with his brother, Wilbur.
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Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871, Orville Wright and his elder brother, Wilbur Wright, were the inventors of the world's first successful airplane. The brothers successfully conducted the first free, controlled flight of a power-driven airplane on December 17, 1903. They subsequently became successful businessmen, filling contracts for airplanes in both Europe and the United States. Today,
"We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity."
the Wright brothers are considered the "fathers of modern aviation." Orville is also known for developing technology for the U.S. Army. He died in Dayton on January 30, 1948.
Orville Wright was born on August 19, 1871 in Dayton, Ohio, one of five children of Susan Catherine Koerner, and Milton Wright, a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.
As a child, Orville Wright was a mischievous and curious boy, and his family encouraged his intellectual development. "We were lucky enough to grow up in an environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity," Orville later wrote in his memoir.
Milton Wright traveled often for his church work, and in 1878, he brought home a toy helicopter for his boys. Based on an invention by French aeronautical pioneer Alphonse Pénaud, it was made of cork, bamboo and paper, and used a rubber band to twirl its twin blades. Orville and his brother were fascinated by the toy, and a lifelong passion for aeronautics was born.
The Wright family moved to Richmond, Indiana, in 1881. In Richmond, Orville developed a love of kites, and soon began making his own at home. By 1887, the family was back in Ohio, where Orville enrolled at Dayton Central High School. Never especially studious, Orville was more interested in hobbies outside the classroom than school, and, thusly, dropped out of high school during his senior year and opened a print shop. Having worked in a print shop over the summer, he quickly went to work designing his own printing press for the shop. In 1889, Orville began publishing the West Side News, a weekly West Dayton newspaper. Wilbur served as the paper's editor.
That same year, tragedy struck the Wright family. Orville's mother, Susan Catherine Koerner Wright, died after suffering a long bout of tuberculosis. With her mother gone, Orville's sister Katherine took on the responsibilities of maintaining the household. The bond between Orville, Katherine and Wilbur was a strong one, and the siblings would remain a close trio throughout the rest of their lives.
After their mother's death, Orville and his brother dedicated themselves to another shared interest: bicycles. A new, safer design had set off a bicycle craze across the country. The brothers opened a bicycle shop in 1892, selling and fixing bikes, and began manufacturing their own design in 1896. Orville invented a self-oiling wheel hub for their popular bikes.
Always curious about aeronautics, Orville and Wilbur followed the latest flying news.
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Born four years apart, brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright grew up in a small town in Ohio. They shared an intellectual curiosity and an aptitude for science, at a time when the possibility of human flight was beginning to look like a reality. Together, the Wright brothers developed the first successful airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina—and together they became national heroes. Considered the fathers of modern aviation, they developed innovative technology and inspired imaginations around the world.
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