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This section of Pride of the West muslin fabric was on the lower left wing panel of the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, when the airplane made its historic first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright Flyer was placed in storage from 1903 until 1916, when it was assembled for the first time since Kitty Hawk by Orville Wright for a brief public display at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In late 1926, early 1927, Orville refurbished the Wright Flyer in preparation for loaning it to the Science Museum in London, where it stayed until 1948. During this refurbishment, the airplane was recovered entirely with new Pride of the West muslin. This section of flown 1903 fabric was removed at that time and remained in the possession of the Wright family until its donation to the National Air and Space Museum in 2008.

Display Status

This object is on display in Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age
Object Details
Date 1903 Country of Origin United States of America Type CRAFT-Aircraft Parts Manufacturer Pride of the West
Physical Description Unbleached muslin; overal dimensions 12 ft. X 3 ft. 2 in. Upper surface section 80 in. from trailing edge; lower surface section 66 1/2 in. from trailing edge. Three internal wing rib pockets on inside of lower surface, 34 in. long X 2 in. wide, pockets 11 inches apart. Trailing edge seam for holding trailing edge wire 3/4 in. wide, with three slots for wing ribs to protrude and be tied to wire. Screw holes where wing strut fittings attached to rear spar and leading edge, upper and lower surface for rear spar, just upper surface for leading edge, four holes for each fitting. Four patches on main covering: a) 4 1/2 in. X 3 in., b) 1 1/2 in. X 1 1/2 in., c) 2 in. X 2 in., d) 3 in. X 3 1/2 in. Excess stitching thread on exterior surface at the end of each rib pocket, 2-3 in. long. Tack holes in leading edge. Evidence of sections sewn together on the bias, two full seams and one partial seam. Various spots and stains over the entire surface of the fabric. The wing covering fabric was received wrapped in another type of white fabric, 64 in. X 33 1/2 in. It is a different weave and thread count than the wing covering or the wing rib pocket material. There is some speculation that this might be stock fabric for some other purpose used on the Wright Flyer, but this remains unclear. Dimensions 2-D - Unframed (H x W): 96.5 x 365.8cm (38 in. x 12 ft.)
3-D (As Displayed): 103.5 × 37 × 2cm (40 3/4 × 14 9/16 × 13/16 in.)
Materials Overall: Muslin
Inventory Number A20090031000 Credit Line Gift of Marianne Miller Hudec. Given in loving memory of her parents, Harold S. and Ivonette Wright Miller. Data Source National Air and Space Museum Restrictions & Rights Usage conditions apply
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