The Aerial Age Begins
1902-1907 1908 1909 1910 1910-1914 1932 1948
Photo of Plane
Fort Myer
America celebrated when the Wrights retuned in May 1909.
Balloons had been used for observation during the American Civil War and in several late 19th-century European conflicts. The airplane offered a natural extension of these reconnaissance capabilities. During the 20th century, the military proved to be the largest market for aeronautical technology.

World War I was the first great impetus to manufacture aircraft, and the later development of commercial cargo and passenger air transport provided the other principal customer for aircraft builders. The aerospace industry ultimately became a pillar of the world economy.

The Wright Company produced a variety of designs until Orville sold the firm and retired from aviation in 1915, three years after Wilbur’s premature death.

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Artifact Gallery

License-built Wright aircraft were produced in France and Germany.
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