Whenever we hear the word Wright, our brain rings the bell of wright brothers. Well, who would not know the man who made flying for humans possible with the help of an airplane? Wilbur Wright is the one who made this happen with the assistance of his brother Orville Wright.
They are regarded as the pioneer of aviation whose inventions were inevitable that made the modern world possible. In this article, we will thoroughly know about one of the Wright brothers, Wilbur Wright. Let’s get to know this man a little bit closer from the quick facts below;
Quick Facts of Wilbur Wright
The Wright Brothers, The Bishop Boys, Wil and Ovi
May 30, 1867
Age of Death
45 years old
Susan Catherine Koerner
Orville Wright, Reuchlin
Wilbur Wright Birth, Family, Siblings, Nationality
This innovative man was born in the year 1867 on May 30. He grew up near Millville, Indiana, along with his father, Milton Wright, and mother, Susan Catherine Koerner. His father worked as a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. His mother was from the Vanderbilt family and Huguenot Gano family, while his father was from German and Swiss descendant.
As a matter of fact, Wright was blessed to have seven siblings, and he was the middle one. In fact, Orville (1867) is his younger brother, who is four years younger than him. Other siblings include Reuchlin (1861 to 1920), Lorin (1862 to 1939), Katharine (1874 to 1929), and twin Ida and Otis, who died in infancy. There is no doubt that Wilbur comes from an American background.
Wilbur Wright College
During Wright’s childhood, he was very bright and intelligent. He was outgoing and was planning to enroll in Yale University after high school. However, one winter in 1885-86, Wilbur had an accident when one of his colleagues stick hit him in the face while playing an ice hockey game.
Although he was healed after some time, Wilbur suffered through depression. Due to this, he did not accomplish his high school diploma and abandoned his plans to study college. Despite all this, this man did not stay ideal and pursued his education in his family’s library.
Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright Inventions
Since their childhood, Wilbur was always curious, indulged himself in various mechanical projects, and followed most scientific research. Among all, he was fascinated mainly by the analysis of German aviator Otto Lilienthal. Unfortunately, he lost his life in a glider crash, and that is also the time where the wright brothers decided to initiate their experiments.
In order to follow their passion, both of them went to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, which is renowned for having strong wind currents. Later on, they started their own observation and were inspired by the way how birds would fly. After they concluded that birds angled their wings in order to maintain balance and control, they coined a concept named “wing warping.”
Finally, in the year 1903, December 17, they found the formula and made the first free, controlled power-driven flight, heavy than an airplane. It was Wilbur who flew the plane for consecutive 59 seconds at a distance of 852 feet. Even though they were inventors, they failed to impress the audience. The majority of the press did not believe their achievement; as a result, Wilbur traveled to Europe in 1908, where he dreamt of advertising his success and selling airplanes.
Luckily in France, Wilbur attracted a lot of audiences who praised his work wholeheartedly. In a matter of time, he went on many public flights, gave rides to officials, politicians, journalists, to name a few. In 1909, the wright brother reunited in Europe along with their sister Katharine.
Eventually, they became celebrity-hosted by royals, heads of state and often made headlines. At first, they initiated their business in Europe and returned to the United States in the same year. Soon, they became wealthy, renowned businessmen, filling contracts for airplanes in both Europe and the United States.
Even though Wilbur had contributed a lot to this creation, he shared credit with his brother. They were very close, and their brotherhood was impeccable. However, behind the curtains, Orville did most of the heavy work. It appears that Wilbur was the mastermind and Orville was the executive of the operation.
Death and Legacy
With all projects and business trips, the airplane was sought out by many. In this process, Wilbur fell ill while he was traveling to Boston in 1912 April. During that time, he was diagnosed with typhoid fever, and at that time, finding the cure was difficult.
Unfortunately, he died on May 30 at his family home situated in Dayton, Ohio. Wright was only 45 years old when he lost his life. It was a significant loss in the history of invention and creation. His father, Milton, wrote in his diary,
“A short life, full of consequences. An unfailing intellect, imperturbable temper, great self-reliance, and as great modesty, seeing the right clearly, pursuing it steadily, he lived and died.”
After his untimely demise, Orville took over the Wright Company. Sadly he did not continue to operate the business and later sold it in 1915. Nonetheless, The Wright Company became part of Wright Martin in the year 1916. As a matter of fact, he started serving on official boards and committees.
Apparently, Orville assisted the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), predecessor agency to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Not to mention he also helped the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce (ACCA), a predecessor to the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).
Some Amazing Wilbur Wright Facts
- Wilbur was named after Wilbur Fisk, while his brother was named after Orville Dewey.
- None of the Wright siblings have a middle name.
- People often call Wilbur and Orville Will and Orv, The Wright Brothers, The Bishop’s Boys, to name a few.
- The Wright brother never got married.
- The Wright brother never got a high school diploma.
- Once upon a time, The Wright Brothers used to print a daily newspaper, the West Side, in 1889.
- The Wright Brothers never got married.
- Orville was the first brother to take a flight as he won the coin toss against Wilbur.
- In 1878, the brothers received a model helicopter made out of bamboo, cork, paper powered by a rubber band which later sparked their passion for aviation.
- As their father was afraid of losing both of his sons in an airplane accident, the Wright brothers flew together only once on May 25, 1910, for six-minute in Dayton.
- When Orville took his 82-year-old father on his first and only flight, he screamed Higher, Orville, higher.
- Orville was indulged in the first fatal aviation accident on September 17, 1908, while demonstrating it to the U.S. Army. Unfortunately, Orville was hospitalized for six weeks and had four ribs, a broken leg, and a severe back injury.
- Orville denied donating the Wright Flyer to the Smithsonian Institution for a decade.
- The first man on the moon Neil Armstong took a piece of muslin fabric from the left-wing of the original 1903 Wright Flyer and a bit of wood from the airplane’s left propeller when he steps in the moon for the first time in 1969.
Wilbur Wright Quotes
- “The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who… looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space… on the infinite highway of the air.”
- “No bird can soar in a calm.”
- “More than anything else, the sensation [of flying] is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost – if you can conceive of such a combination.”
- “I Don’t Have Time For Both A Wife And An Airplane.”
― Source: Men in the Air: The Best Flight Stories of All Time From Greek Mythology to the Space Age
- “By the death of Mr. O. Chanute, the world has lost one whose labors had to an unusual degree influenced the course of human progress. If he had not lived the entire history of progress in flying would have been other than it has been.”
― Source: The Papers Of Wilbur And Orville Wright, Including The Chanute Wright Letters And Other Papers Of Octave Chanute
- “I confess that in 1901, I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years. Two years later we ourselves made flights. This demonstration of my impotence as a prophet gave me such a shock that ever since I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions.”
- “The best dividends on the labor invested have invariably come from seeking more knowledge rather than more power.”
Social Media Presence
Wilbur is not active on any social media plaforms.