Wilbur and Orville made history in 1903 when they made the first flight with an aircraft in North Carolina just a few miles away from Kitty Hawk. Wilbur flew the plane at a height of 852 feet for less than one minute, something that had never been done before. The brothers had gone through high school but neither received a diploma and they began to manufacture bicycles under the Wright Cycle Company brand. As children, both brothers cite playing with a toy helicopter which was where their obsession with flight began. The brothers avidly followed the work of German aviator Otto Lilienthal and it was his passing that prompted the brothers to begin working on something of their own. They began their first experiment in 1899 when they tried to fly a biplane kite which was like a bicycle with wings. They continued to experiment with their gliding instruments and chose Kitty Hawk as their testing ground because of the strong Atlantic winds and soft sandy surfaces.
Though many consider the Wright Brothers the inventors of the modern-day airplane, what they really developed was a system of controls that would allow a pilot to manoeuvre the plane. Their experience in the bicycle shop and a printing press gave them the mechanical skills to become cemented in history, as they are today. Interestingly, the brother’s claims were and still are refuted by many and they faced multiple lawsuits and litigation which never allowed them to be truly successful. They actually went to Europe to sell their planes as their audience in the United States was not very receptive. In France, the brothers became big celebrities and began selling their planes there till returning back to America in 1909.
Both brothers were single till they died but in photos and videos of them, you can see a very distinct commonality between the two. They were always well dressed and truly representative of fashion at the time. Fashion during this time was going through a change as the ability to mass produce was finally arriving as were new materials and innovations. However, attire was still traditional and followed several rules. Men’s clothing was usually dictated by the time of day and activity and so morning coats, lounge suits and evening clothes were all distinguished from each other. The Wright Brothers had their own brand of fashion which we now associate with the aeronautical profession of the time, the tweed pants, suspenders, goggles and bomber style jackets.
This video shows the brother’s first flight and is truly a milestone when it comes to our history and culture. Without the Wright Brothers, who knows what our modern day airplanes would look like or how long it would have taken for them to come about.