Wright Timeline 1900 to 1909

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The Wright Story 


  Wright Timeline     1900 to 1909 
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o invention, no scientific discovery, no work of art, no human endeavor happens in an historical vacuum. There are always other factors -- cultural, political, personal -- that influence the outcome of a single event. So it was with the invention of the airplane. When Wilbur and Orville were children, the abacus was the most advanced mathematical aid, influenza was an often-fatal disease, and the cannon was the most feared weapon of war. By the time Orville died, the first computers were just being built, antibiotics had begun to wipe out disease,  and the atomic bomb made war unthinkable. Many of these advances influenced the development of the airplane -- and the airplane, in turn, influenced further advances.

Here is chronology that shows not just the story of the Wright brothers, but also the world they lived in and the important political, cultural, and scientific events that loomed large in their lives. Click on the decade you want to see:

1860 to 1869
1870 to 1879
1880 to 1889
1890 to 1899
1900 to 1909
1910 to 1919
1920 to 1929
1930 to 1939
1940 to 1949


The Wright Story

The Bigger Picture

1900 The Wright brothers fly their first manned glider at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to test their control system. It does not produce enough lift to make more than a handful of flights..
Pablo Picasso begins to show his paintings, Sigmund Freud writes The Interpretation of Dreams, and Max Planck formulates quantum theory. The US Navy commissions its first submarine, the USS Holland.
1901 The Wrights test their second glider at Kitty Hawk. and it also performs poorly. At home in Dayton, Ohio, they build a wind tunnel and conduct research on wing shapes.
William McKinley is assassinated; Theodore Roosevelt becomes the US president. Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr introduce a gasoline-powered farm tractor.
1902 The Wright build a third glider based on their wind tunnel tests and it flies well. They refine their control system at Kitty Hawk.  Adolf Miethe invents the panchromatic process, leading to Autochrome, the first commercially sold color film. Stanford University and the University of Michigan play the first college bowl game, the Rose Bowl.
1903 The Wright brothers make the first controlled, sustained powered flight at Kitty Hawk. Samuel Langley of the Smithsonian Institution also tries to fly a manned version of his Aerodrome and fails.
The first true motion picture, The Great Train Robbery, premiers. It is 12 minutes long. Crayola sells its first box of crayons and the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans play the first World Series.
1904 The Wrights begin to refine their powered airplane, making test flights at Huffman Prairie near Dayton, Ohio
The first ice cream cones are sold at the St. Louis World's Fair; a judge in Newark, Rhode Island pronounces the first jail sentence for speeding in an automobile. Work on the Panama Canal begins.
1905 The Wright brothers develop the first practical airplane and demonstrate it before a small audience. They offer their invention to the U.S. Army, but the Army is not interested.
Albert Einstein publishes the Special Theory of Relativity. The Niagra Movement later to become the NAACP is founded. The Royal Navy lays the keel of the HMS Dreadnought whose turbine engines and powerful gun batteries revolutionize naval warfare.
1906 The U.S. Patent Office grants a patent to the Wright Brothers on their airplane control system.
Reginald Fessenden makes the first radio broadcast of voice and music from Massachusetts. Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle leads to the U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act and an earthquake destroys much of San Francisco, California. Alberto Santos Dumont makes the first powered flights in Europe.
1907 The Wright Brothers procure contracts for the sale of airplanes from French investors and the U.S. Army, provided they can demonstrate their invention.
President Theodore Roosevelt speaks to the U.S. Congress about the "conservation of natural resources,"  marking the beginning of the conservation and environmental movements. Lee DeForest invents the triode, the beginning of electronics.
1908 The Wright brothers demonstrate a two-passenger airplane in Europe and America. Orville crashes during a demonstration flight and is badly injured. His passenger, Lt. Thomas Selfridge, becomes the first person to die in an airplane crash.
The Ford Motor Company produces the first "Model T" automobile. Oil is discovered in the Middle East and Lt. General Robert Baden-Powell writes a book, Scouting for Boys, that leads to the founding of the Boy Scouts.
1909 The Wrights demonstrate a new airplane and the U.S. Army buys its first military aircraft. The Wrights begin to manufacture airplanes and teach pilots.|
Leo Baekeland develops "Bakelight," the first widely-used plastic, Ernest Rutherford formulates the structure of the atom, and Richard Peary reaches the north pole. Louis Bleriot flies across the English Channel in a Bleriot XI.

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 Eddie Rickenbacker



History Wing/The Wright Story/The Wright Timeline 1900-1909

Part of a biography of the Wright Brothers


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