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The Inventive Wright Brothers

In 1878, a toy forever changed the lives of Wilbur and Orville. Milton gave the boys a toy helicopter, a simple device made of bamboo, paper, and cork and powered by a rubber band. Wilbur and Orville would later recall that their father’s gift sparked their interest in the science of flight. Wilbur and Orville Wright went from repairing bicycles to inventing the airplane. This Library of Congress primary source set includes photographs, newspapers articles, personal letters and telegrams, and official army documents record their experiences and their experiments.

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/flight/

Dayton Homecoming, 1909

This image is of a celebratory program honoring the Wright Brothers in their hometown.

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Crumpled Glider

This image is of a crumpled glider wrecked by the wind on Hill of the Wreck.

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First Flight

This photograph shows the first powered, controlled, sustained flight (120 feet in 12 seconds). Orville Wright at the controls of the machine, lying prone on the lower wing with hips in the cradle which operated the wing-warping mechanism. Wilbur Wright running alongside to balance the machine, has just released his hold on the forward upright of the right wing. The starting rail, the wing-rest, a coil box, and other items needed for flight preparation are visible behind the machine.

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Kathering Wright Aboard the Wright Model HS Airplane with Orville

This image shows Katharine Wright, wearing a leather jacket, cap, and goggles, aboard the Wright Model HS airplane with Orville.

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Kittyhawk Picture 1

This image documents a flight by one of the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

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Kittyhawk Picture 2

This image documents a flight by one of the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

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Kittyhawk Picture 3

This image documents a flight by one of the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

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Second Powered Machine

This image is of Wilbur and Orville Wright with their second powered machine: Huffman Prairie in Dayton, Ohio.

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Side View of Glider

This image shows a side view of a glider flying as a kite near the ground. Wilbur Wright is at left and Orville Wright is at the right; the glider is turned forward to the right and tipped downward.

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Wilbur Wright in Bicycle Shop

This image shows Wilbur Wright working in the bicycle shop.

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The Wright Brothers

This image shows Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright seated on the steps of rear porch: 7 Hawthorne Street, Dayton, Ohio.

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Wilbur Wright to Octave Chanute

This letter to the noted engineer and businessman where Wright states that "For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man." This begins a extended correspondence between the two that ends with Chanute's death in 1910.

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The Inventive Wright Brothers: Teacher's Guide

Teacher's guide to the Wright Brothers primary source set.

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1903 Journal 12/17/1903

This journal entry describes the first flight of the Wright Brothers.

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Wilbur Wright to Bishop Wright, 9/22/08

This letter to Wilbur Wright's father documents Wilbur's activities.

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Orville Wright, Deposition

These letters are to Milton Wright, father of Orville and Wilbur.

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West Side News

This page is from a newspaper published by Orville Wright and edited by Wilbur Wright for residents of West Dayton.

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Flying Machine Patent

This is a patent from United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Wright Brothers' Flying Machine.

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Penaud-style Ornithopter

This image, drawn by Orville Wright, is of a toy that helped spur the brothers interest in flight.

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Wilbur Wright Postcard to Orville Wright

This is a postcard from Wilbur Wright to Orville Wright from 1908.

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Flying Machine Purchase Order

This is a patent from United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Wright Brothers' Flying Machine.

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Telegram of the First Flight

This telegram was sent to the Wright family indicating the success of the Wright brothers' flying machine.

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Wilbur Wright to Bishop Wright 9/3/1900

This letter to Wilbur Wright's father documents Wilbur's activities.

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The Wright Brothers' Workshed

This image shows visitors and fellow campers in the Wrights' work shed at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Left to right: Octave Chanute, Orville Wright, and Edward C. Huffaker seated at left and Wilbur Wright standing.

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