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ut though the money was good, it wasnt enough. Milton and Susan Wright had
taught their children to take pleasure from intellectual challenge, and without their
knowing, this had become the driving force in Wilbur and Orvilles lives. Their
early careers reflect this. After they learned the skills required to be printers, they
moved on to the problems of building printing presses, running newspapers, repairing
bicycles, and building them, all in rapid succession. In short, they loved to learn. And
once they had learned to build bicycles, they began looking for something new.
logical challenge had already been anticipated by several visionaries who noted that the
obstacles to human flight were similar to those faced by cyclists. Among them was James
Howard Means, who wrote in his journal The Aeronautical Annual in 1896, "It
is not uncommon for the cyclist, in the first flash of enthusiasm which quickly follows
the unpleasantness of taming the steel steed, to remark: Wheeling is just like
bicycle ad from 1895 echoes James Howard Means' sentiment. "Darius
Green and His Flying Machine" is a famous story poem written in 1869
by John Townsend Trowbridge. It pokes fun at backyard inventors with
dreams of flying. Read it
The Webbert Building at 1127 West Third Street in Dayton, Ohio. The
Wright Cycle Co. occupied the shop space on the left.
The show room at the Wright Cycle Company, as it has been restored
at Greenfield Village, part of Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn,
The interior of the Wright Cycle Company workshop as it has
been restored at Greenfield Village.
Orville Wright (right) and Charlie Taylor (left) at work in the
bicycle shop about 1901. Charlie was a skilled "mechanician" the
Wrights hired just after they began their aeronautic experiments.
Wilbur Wright at work in the bicycle shop.