Wilbur and Orville: A Biography of the Wright Brothers

Wilbur and Orville: A Biography of the Wright Brothers

by Fred Howard


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In the waning days of the 19th century and on the eve of a new technological era, French, English, and American inventors (as well as a host of charlatans, stuntmen, and profiteers) were racing to be the first to achieve powered, heavier-than-air flight. At the center of this activity were two little-known bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio — Wilbur and Orville Wright.
This highly regarded volume, considered by many to be the definitive study of the Wrights, tells the full story of the brothers' lives and works: from their early childhood and initial fascination with flight, through the years of experimentation with gliders on the sand dunes of Indiana, to the exhilarating days on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where they perfected the design for the initial flyer, culminating in the historic first flight in December, 1903, at Kitty Hawk. The book also relates in detail the bitter patent fight and exhausting legal battles that followed as well as Wilbur's untimely death and Orville's later years.
Author Fred Howard, an expert on early aviation technology and member of the team that edited a multi-volume edition of the Wright brothers' papers for the Library of Congress, is uniquely qualified to tell this story. He not only provides a remarkable account of the brothers' enormous achievements, but has also captured the spirit of an extraordinary era, paying tribute to the contributions of such legendary aviation pioneers as Octave Chanute, Samuel Pierpont Langley, Glenn Curtiss, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Louis Blériot, and many others.
Unparalleled in its scope and colorful depiction of the Wright brothers and their times, this authoritative and thoroughly entertaining work will thrill and delight aviation buffs, students of American history, and anyone fascinated by the early days of flight.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486402970
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 11/17/2011
Series: Dover Transportation Series
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 872,428
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Dover Edition
I. The House on Hawthorn Street
2. The Flying Men
3. In the Dunes of Indiana
4. The Twisted Box
5. A Perilous Passage
6. The Outer Banks
7. A Two-Man Association
8. The Camp at Big Hill
9. Trade Secrets
10. Well-Digging
11. Movable Wings
12. Two Talks
13. The First Flyer
14. A Race with the Weather
15. An Experiment in Aerodynamics
16. The First Four Flights
17. Fiction and Fact
18. The Year of the Fair
19. The Finished Flyer
20. A Bold Performance in California
21. The Thorn Tree
22. One Million Francs
23. "Frame, But Not Weatlh"
24. Bell's Boys
25. The Brothers Abroad
26. A Letter of Information
27. Return to Kitty Hawk
28. Wilbur Has the Jimjams
29. "Nous sommes battus"
30. Fort Myer
31. A Tragedy and a Comic Interlude
32. Camp d'Auvours
33. The Homecoming
34. Cross-Country
35. Herring and the Curtiss
36. The Races at Reims
37. The Last Public Flights
38. The Patent Wars Begin
39. End of a Friendship
40. Exit Herring
41. The Exhibition Business
42. Who Invented Wingwarping?
43. Vin Fiz
44. Wilbur
45. Company President
46. The Aerodrome Affair
47. End of the Patent Wars
48. War Comes to Dayton
49. Orville Alone
50. A Feud and a Celebration
51. End of the Feud
52. Orville's Shoes

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