Making the propellers
Conceiving the aerodynamic propeller was another
example of the Wrights’ great ability to think visually
and turn abstract ideas into working hardware. The Wrights
decided to use two, slow-turning, large propellers, because
this arrangement offered great efficiency, and the propellers
could be spun in opposite directions to neutralize the gyroscopic
effects of the whirling blades.
Each propeller was 8 feet in diameter and made from two laminations
of 1-inch spruce. The blades were shaped with a hatchet and
a drawknife and the tips covered with fabric and varnished
to prevent splitting.
Chain-and-Sprocket transmission system
Wilbur and Orville again drew upon their familiarity
with bicycles in creating the transmission linkage. To transfer
power from the engine to the propellers, they devised a simple
chain-and-sprocket arrangement running from the engine crankshaft
to a pair of steel propeller shafts. To make the propellers
rotate in opposite directions, they simply twisted one of
the two chains in a figure eight.
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