Who Were Wilbur and Orville?
1630 1859 1884 1889 1893 1895
1859 - 1874
Wilbur & Orville
Wilbur and Orville
The Wright brothers had a variety of individual talents, skills, and personality traits that complemented one another. Relying on each other's strengths and compensating for each other's weaknesses was crucial to their invention of the airplane. Neither probably could have achieved alone what they did as a team.
Orville and Wilbur Wright
Orville and Wilbur Wright
A Source of Confidence
The Wrights supportive homelife provided Wilbur and Orville with a strong belief in themselves. This self-confidence enabled them to reject the theories of well-known and more experienced aeronautical experimenter when the brothers felt their own ideas were correct. Often it was the emotional anchor provided by their strong family ties that helped Wilbur and Orville persevere when they encountered difficulties in their research.
Wilbur, Orville and Katharine Wright
An unspoken Pact
In the mid-1890s, Wilbur, Orville, and their sister Katharine were in their twenties, the age young people of their time typically began to seriously contemplate marriage. Yet none of them showed any interest in finding a mate. They seemed bound by an unspoken agreement to remain together and let no one come between them.
“From the time we were little children my brother Orville and myself lived together. We usually owned all of our toys in the common, talked over our thoughts and aspirations so that nearly everything that was done in our lives has been the result of conversations, suggestions and discussion between us."
Wilbur Wright, 1912
 
Pénaud's Helicopter
Pénaud's Helicopter
The brothers’ first experience with flight occurred in 1878, when their father gave them a small rubber band–powered toy helicopter designed by French aviation pioneer Alphonse Pénaud. Intrigued by the little flying machine, they made several copies of it of varying sizes. After playing and experimenting with them, the brothers behaved like most young boys: they moved on to other diversions. Orville made this sketch of the toy in 1929.
Spirited Arguments
“I like scrapping with Orv,” Wilbur said, “he’s such a good scrapper.” Heated discussions were a frequent and significant aspect of the Wrights’ creative process. Their ability to defend a position with genuine passion, while considering the other’s point of view, was essential to their inventive success.
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