|Wright Brothers Timeline
(May) Wilbur writes a letter of request to the Smithsonian Institution
for information about flight experiments.
Brothers design their first aircraft: a small, biplane glider to
be flown as a kite. Its purpose is to test their solution for controlling
the craft: wing-warping. Wing-warping is a method of twisting the
wingtips slightly in opposite directions to control the aircraft's
rolling motion and balance. Following this successful test, the
Wrights design a full-size glider. They select Kitty Hawk, North
Carolina, as their test site because of its wind, sand, hilly terrain
and remote location.
First American woman obtains a driver's license.
Aspirin is invented.
The first magnetic sound recording is made.
Alpha and beta rays in radioactive atoms are discovered.
(Sept) The brothers successfully test their 50-pound biplane glider
with its 17-foot wingspan and wing-warping at Kitty Hawk, in both
unmanned and piloted flights. Based upon the results, the Wrights
decide to refine the controls and landing gear, and build a bigger
The paper clip is invented.
First flight of the Zeppelin is attempted.
First transmission of human speech via radio waves.
(Summer) At Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the brothers fly
the largest glider ever flown, with a 22-foot wingspan, a weight
of nearly 100 pounds and skids for landing. Many problems occur:
wings do not have enough lifting power; forward elevator is not
very effective in controllong the pitch; the wing-warping occasionally
causes the airplane to spin out of control. In their disappointment,
they predict that man will probably not fly in their lifetime.
(Winter) The Wrights review their test results and determine that
the calculations they used were not reliable. They decide to build
a wind tunnel to test a variety of wing shapes for their effect
on lift. Based upon these tests, they develop a greater understanding
of how an airfoil works and greater accuracy in calculating how
well a wing will fly. They now design a glider with a 32-foot wingspan
and a tail to help stabilize it.
Blood groups are discovered.
The typewriter is invented.
The vacuum cleaner is invented.
First motor-driven bicycles are developed.
Quantum theory is formulated.
The first Mercedes is built.
(Sept) The brothers fly numerous piloted test glides, with few
mishaps. Studies of the mishaps show that a movable tail will help
balance the craft. They connect the movable tail to the wing-warping
wires to coordinate turns. With successful glides to verify their
wind-tunnel tests, the Wrights are now ready to build a powered
Air conditioning is invented.
Disc brakes are invented.
First crossing of the Irish channel by balloon.
After months of studying how propellers work, the Wright Brothers
design a motor and an aircraft body strong enough to accommodate
its weight and vibrations. When built, the craft weighs over 700
pounds. This becomes the first "Flyer."
(Dec) The brothers build a movable track to launch the Flyer. This
will help it gain enough airspeed to fly. On the third attempt to
fly this machine, one of which resulted in a minor crash, Orville
took it for a 12-second, sustained flight on December 17. This is
the first successful, powered, piloted flight in history.
The electrocardiograph is invented.
First American coast-to-coast car trip is made.
Ford Motor Company is founded.
First flight lasting more than five minutes took place on November
9 (The Flyer II is flown by Wilbur Wright).
The first ultraviolet lamps are discovered.
Photographs are transmitted by telegraph for the first time.
Silicones are discovered.
The first passenger was flown on May 14. Wilbur Wright was the
The first fatal air crash occurred on September 17. Orville Wright
was piloting the plane. He survived the crash, but his passenger
Ammonia is synthesized.
First steel and glass building is built in Germany.
Bakelite (early plastic) is invented.
First "stealth" airplane is created by the Wright Brothers in an
attempt to keep others from copying their designs. After coating
their airplane with varnish, they applied aluminum powder, causing
the plane to blend in with the background of any photographs taken.
The U.S. Government bought its first airplane, a Wright Brothers
biplane, on July 30. The airplane sold for $25,000 plus a bonus
of $5,000 because it exceeded 40 mph.
Bleriot crosses the English Channel in an airplane.
First permanent hair waves are given.
First woman drives a car across the United States.
First 100-mile flight is completed.
The Vin Fiz, a Wright Brothers airplane, is the first airplane
to cross the U.S.
Cosmic rays are discovered.
The concept of a black hole is theorized.
The calculating machine is invented.
The first airplane armed with a machine gun was a Wright Brothers
biplane flown on May 7.
Protons and electrons are detected.
The S.S.Titanic sinks.
The first successful parachute jump is made.
The diesel locomotive is developed.
The first "Air Force" in the United States is established on July
18. It consisted of six planes and 320 people.
U.S. Court decides in favor of the Wright Brothers in a patent
suit filed by Glenn Curtiss.
First rocketry experiments are done by Goddard.
World War I begins.
Tear gas is invented.
Panama Canal opens.