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The History and Innovation of The First Airplane Created By The Wright Brothers | Duluth Pack

The History and Innovation of the First Airplane Created by The Wright Brothers

Imagine traveling to every single one of your vacation destinations by car. Sure, it wouldn't be too bad; everyone loves a good road trip. But, not being able to fly to your destinations would probably limit the number of trips you can take a year or in a lifetime. Not to mention, driving takes a great deal of time, so your actual vacation time may be shortened due to the commute.

Luckily, we have the option of traveling by plane for our trips - whether for leisure or work. Flying offers a shorter commute time, and you can go to many more destinations. Planes have allowed us to travel globally and at high rates of speed. They have also provided many other services, from air shows to shipping cargo. We owe all of this to two risk-taking Americans, Orville and Wilbur Wright, who invented the first airplane.

The older of the two, Wilbur, was born in 1867. Their father, Milton, was a preacher, and the family traveled from place to place before settling down in Dayton, Ohio. At this time, Orville was born four years after Wilbur in 1871. The two played together and went to school together. Their mother, Susan, was a successful college grad and built many home products and toys for her house and children. They also had a sister named Katharine, who was intelligent and motivated. When they were younger, their father brought back a small toy helicopter for the brothers to play with. This toy sparked a passion for flying machines and inventing.

The Wright brothers did well in high school, but their college ambitions fell through. Wilbur had plans to attend Yale but suffered an ice hockey injury, casting him into a depression. Orville was enrolled in advanced high school classes, but he did not qualify to graduate with a high school diploma. Their mother became very ill, and Wilbur stayed at home to watch over her. She later passed from tuberculosis in 1889.

Before their flying careers, the brothers were already great entrepreneurs and businessmen. They started a newspaper publishing company called, "The West Side News." They developed a close working relationship during this time. They would go on to sell the business in 1899.

During the late 1800s, bicycles had significantly improved, and the updated invention spread like wildfire across America and Europe. The Wright brothers were interested in the new machines and decided to open up their bicycle shop in Dayton called, “The Wright Cycle Co.” The shop repaired and sold bicycles, and in 1895, the brothers created their own bikes. Their interest in bicycle mechanics set the stage for their aeronautical endeavors.

After the Wright brothers spent some time researching the existing information on flight, Wilbur sent a letter to the Smithsonian stating his interest in joining the aeronautical community. The brothers started out using gliders to test the aerodynamics and basic construction of airplane mechanics. They also used guidelines from famous aeronautical researcher Sir George Cayley. These guidelines looked at control of the airplane, wings, and propulsion as a means for flying (Smithsonian Nation Air and Space Museum).

Using their bicycle mechanics knowledge the Wilbur and Orville created a curved or “warped wing." This wing-warp caused air the wings to lift upwards and with control. The kite they built used a biplane design and sported the new warped shape. Upon testing, the kite was a success.

With the aerodynamics and wing shape down, the Wright brothers decided to craft a large piloted glider. Through meticulous research, they created and tested glider designs. The tests were conducted on the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, a place with wide-open space and a constant wind flow. It took years of hard work and trials to finally reach a glider that could be controlled and piloted by a person successfully.

The glider now needed a motor and a way to propel itself through the air. And on December 17, 1903, The Wright brothers successfully flew the first powered airplane (Smithsonian Nation Air and Space Museum). This is exactly 21 years and 5 days after the birth of Duluth Pack. A monumental accomplishment, Orville and Wilbur had achieved the first flight of humankind. They went on to developing more designs and showing the world their impressive aircraft.

Duluth Pack greatly respects innovation; in fact, we are innovators ourselves. Duluth Pack is the oldest canvas and leather pack and bag manufacturer in the United States of America. Duluth Pack began in 1882 and is older than the first airplane and even penicillin. Since Duluth Pack's beginnings, it has brought new designs and technologies to the industry. But, also makes sure to remain true. All of the products are proudly and solely Made in America and built on a true American legacy and heritage. Duluth Pack still offers its first pack design, the #2 Original, yet also providing new designs like the Standard Sparky.

Duluth Pack offers the ultimate travel packs for all of your flying needs. The Bison Weekender Duffel is a way to keep your luggage organized and stylish. For briefcases, we suggest the compact Transit Briefcase for excellent storage and protection. Lastly, the Uptown Series Grab-N-Go is made for all of your traveling essentials.


We compiled this information from Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.


Happy adventuring, friends!