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#TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts


By: Vivienne Machi, Staff Writer

We pay homage to the Wright Brothers every day on a global scale: every time someone hops in a plane for work or pleasure, they can thank Orville and Wilbur for the luxury.

We teamed up with Nancy Horlacher, local history librarian at the Dayton Metro Library Genealogy Center, to come up with 15 lesser-known facts about Wilbur and Orville that will make all the difference at Trivia Night.


  • #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts, item 1
    Young Orville and Wilbur Wright. Courtesy of Wright State University Special Collections and Archives

    Of course you know about Wilbur and Orville, but how about their siblings? Susan and Bishop Milton Wright had seven children: Five boys — Reuchlin, Loren, Wilbur, Orville and Otis — and two girls — Katharine and Ida. Otis and Ida were twins who died in infancy.

  • Orville was a dog lover: He had a pet St. Bernard named Scipio in his Oakwood home Hawthorne Hill.

  • #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts, item 3
    Harold Johnson (l), former Moraine mayor and accomplished aviator in his own right, stands before the new Wright Brothers Seaplane Base marker with Amanda Wright Lane (r), great grandniece of the Wright Brothers. STAFF PHOTO BY WILLIAM G. SCHMIDT

    The Wright Seaplane Base was located on the Great Miami River south of Dayton at Miami Shores, which is where Orville and his assistants experimented with various designs of the Wright aeroboats and hydroplanes.

    > > > #TBT: Orville’s flying toy.

  • May 25, 1910, was the only time that Wilbur and Orville ever flew together. The flight took place at Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

  • Orville installed a needle shower in his new Oakwood home that sprayed needle-like jets of water from different level horizontal pipes around the shower walls.

  • #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts, item 6
    The Wright home and bicycle shop at Greenfield Village. Courtesy of Wright State University Special Collections and Archives

    In 1936, Orville Wright gifted his bicycle shop and family home to Henry Ford for his Greenfield Village Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

    > > > QUIZ: How well do you know your Wright Brothers?

  • #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts, item 7
    Paul Laurence Dunbar. SOURCE: Dayton Daily News archives

    Paul Laurence Dunbar, the first internationally renowned African-American poet and writer, and Orville Wright were classmates in the class of 1890, at Central High School in Dayton.

  • Orville owned an island vacation home, where he would vacation in the summers, on Lambert Island in Georgian Bay Ontario, Canada.

  • General Henry (Hap) Arnold learned to fly at the Wright School of Aviation in 1911 at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

    > > > Tom Hanks, HBO planning Wright Brothers miniseries.

  • #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts, item 10
    Bicycle Museum of America, New Bremen, Ohio -- This is a St. Clair bike believed to have been built by the Wright Brothers. STAFF PHOTO BY BILL GARLOW

    Wilbur and Orville began manufacturing their own brands of bicycles, first the Van Cleve bicycle in 1895, and later the St. Clair bicycle.

  • The automatic stabilizer, propellers, and wing warping were all airplane innovations designed by the Wright brothers.

  • Wilbur Wright first flew in Europe at Hunaudieres Race Course outside of Le Mans, France in August, 1908.

    > > > Dayton Walk of Fame: Orville Wright.

  • A student of the Wrights at Huffman Prairie Flying Field named Roy Brown is credited with the death of Captain Manfred von Richthofen, or the Red Baron, Germany’s World War I flying ace.

  • #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts, item 14
    Artist Bing Davis organized 17 local African-American artists to do new works interpreting and depicting the impact of Paul Laurence Dunbar, in honor of the 100th anniversary of his death. Ronnie Williams' work, "The Wright Homestead" shows what a meeting of the Wrights; Wilbur, Orville and Katherine along with Dunbar discussing their paper, the Dayton Tattler, might have looked like. STAFF PHOTO BY BILL REINKE.

    Beginning in 1890, Wright & Wright Job Printers printed the newspaper written and published by Paul Laurence Dunbar entitled, The Dayton Tattler.

  • Kites led to a glider, which led to the aeroplane for testing the Wright brothers theories of flight.

    > > > Dayton Walk of Fame: Wilbur Wright