Wilbur and Orville Wright are known as the Wright Brothers. Wilbur was born on April 16, 1867 in Millville, Indiana and died on May 30, 1912 of Typhoid Fever in Dayton, Ohio at the age of 45. Orville was born on August 19, 1871 in Dayton, Ohio and died on January 30, 1948 also in Dayton, Ohio at the age of 76. They were engineers and founded the Wright Cycle Company in Dayton, Ohio in 1892.
They are credited with the invention of the airplane (a glider plane that flies continuously with an engine). It all began in 1783 when Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier invented the hot air balloon. The Wright brothers invented the airplane from 1900-1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their bicycle shop employee Charlie Taylor helped them build their first aircraft engine.
In 1900 they had just enough material to build a glider 165 square feet in area. They made several experiments concerning its gliding capabilities. In 1901 they built a bigger machine, increasing the size from 165 to 308 square feet, a size that was not known to be controllable at that time. This increased the amount of lifting power. They made several glides with this machine in winds of up to 12 meters per second or 27 miles per hour. It was designed using the shape of surface discovered by Lilienthal, who died in a glider experiment in 1896. It was the death of Lilienthal that inspired the Wright Brothers to attempt to invent an airplane.
The 1901 machine made glides of 300 feet, a world record at that time. In 1902 at Kill Devil Hill, several glides were made with a new glider, obtaining distances of over 600 feet. In 1903, they tried a propeller after studying the scientific principles. The first successful flight was
on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville Wright was the pilot. The plane
flew 120 feet in 12 seconds. Later, Wilbur was in the air for 59 seconds.
In September, 1905, they had invented a practical machine. The Wright Brothers made an airplane that can fly 40 miles an hour for 125 miles, also capable of carrying two men for the United States Government. The aircraft of 1905 could navigate and stay in the air for 35 minutes. The Wright Brothers demonstrated their plane in the United States and Europe. In 1908 Wilbur Wright made over 100 exhibition flights in France, setting a record flight duration of 2 hours and 20 minutes. The brothers established an aircraft company and sold planes to the U.S. Army. The company later merged with the company of Glenn H. Curtiss, becoming the