Who Were Wilbur and Orville?
1630 1859 1884 1889 1893 1895
1859 - 1874
Orville Wright
Orville Wright
Orville was born in Dayton on August 19, 1871. He showed an interest in technology and science early in life, performing experiments and dismantling things to find out how they worked. He fit the stereotype of the budding inventor far more than Wilbur.
Orville Wright
Orville Wright
(1871 - 1948)
Impulsive and Optimistic
More impulsive than his contemplative, thoughtful older brother, Orville had boundless curiosity and energetically pursued a range of interests. His mind was quick, and he was always coming up with new inventions. While pursuing the airplane was initially Wilbur’s idea, Orville’s enthusiasm and optimism were often what carried them through to solutions of difficult technical problems.
A Born Inventor
Orville showed an interest in technology and science early in life. He was always performing experiments and dismantling things to find out how they worked. He fit the stereotype of the budding inventor far more than Wilbur.
A Restless Student
Orville was as bright as his brother, but he could be mischievous in the classroom and did not always apply himself fully. His work habits improved in high school. But instead of following the prescribed junior-year curriculum, he opted for a series of advanced college preparatory courses. As a result, he would not qualify for his high school degree at the end of his senior year, so he decided not to attend school that term. He never graduated.
 
Artifact Gallery
Orville's report card from Central High School.

 
Orville's Mandolin.
“Orv has begun lessons on his mandolin and we are getting even with the neighborhood for the noise they have made on pianos. He sits around and picks that thing until I can hardly stay in the house.”
Katharine Wright, 1900
 
“I don’t believe there ever was a man who could do the work he did in all kinds of dirt, oil and grime and come out of it looking immaculate.”
-- Ivonette Wright Miller, Orville’s niece
Orville Wright
Orville was painfully shy among strangers.
Highly educated
Despite his lack of interest in formal credentials, Orville, like Wilbur, was committed to broad learning and supplemented his schooling with a great deal of private study. The brothers in fact had an education comparable to a modern four-year college degree.
Orville Wright
Orville at age 9
The Shy One
Orville was charming and an interesting conversationalist with family and close friends, as well as an incorrigible practical joker. But unlike the outgoing Wilbur, he was painfully shy among strangers. Wilbur always represented the brothers publicly.
Go to Katharine Wright >>