ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Greatest People in History Series - The Wright Brothers

Updated on April 5, 2014

Two of The Greatest Men in History - The Wright Brothers

Two of the greatest people in history.
Two of the greatest people in history. | Source

Quotes from the Wright Brothers

If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance. ~ Orville Wright

Not Everyone was as Happy as the Wrights!


The Greatest People in History and What We Can Learn from Them - The Wright Brothers

The two brothers, Wilbur and Orville were very close as children, despite the fact that they were born 4 years apart, Wilbur on April 16, 1867 and Orville August 19, 1871, and they did everything together. Born into a family of 5 children, the two boys were the 3rd and 4th of the 5 and from an early age the two boys developed a keen interest in anything mechanical. Their father, who was a Protestant Bishop and believed in promoting his children's hobbies, noticed their passion for Mechanical things and bought them a toy helicopter made of bamboo, cork and paper that was propelled by rubber bands. This small act of kindness by their father led to an obsession with flying machines and the boys attempted to build their own helicopters, spurred on by a father who could never have imagined the impact his sons would one day have on humanity.

As boys, and as adults, the two were so close that Wilbur once said they "lived together, played together, worked together, and in fact thought together."

Birthplace of the Wright Brothers


The First Flight.

The beginning of the Wright brothers' legacy.
The beginning of the Wright brothers' legacy. | Source

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Both boys showed entrepreneurial spirit, and began to make money by making and selling mechanical toys. Orville was especially good at finding ways to make money and did so by collecting scrap metal which he sold for extra spending money. During summers, Orville worked for a printer and by the time he was 18 he had developed into a skilled typesetter and was publishing his own paper. This position was to be the door to greater things for both Orville and Wilbur as they went on to do business together in the newspaper business.

Quotes from the Wright Brothers

Men become wise just as they become rich, more by what they save than what they receive. ~ Wilbur Wright

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk:
Kitty Hawk, NC, USA

get directions

The location of the famous first successful flight by the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur.

The Beginning of an Unforgettable Partnership

In 1889 - when Wilbur was 22 and Orville was 18 - their mother died, after which the two boys set out to do business together. They opened a printing shop called Wright and Wright and began publishing among other things, a weekly journal for black readers. A friend of theirs, 18 year old Paul Lawrence Dubar, the only black student at their high school edited the journal for them and eventually, a few years later after submitting reams of poetry to the Wrights, they sent his work on to a publishing house and suffice it to say, he was able to give up his job as an elevator operator. He went on to become a nationally acclaimed writer of poetry and short stories.


The Journey of the Wright Brothers

Orville Wright

One of the greatest people in history.
One of the greatest people in history. | Source

Lessons from the Wright Brothers

Lesson One Notes

Just because it hasn't been done before, it doesn't mean it can't be done. If you have a desire, a vision and a will to put in the work just about anything is possible as has been proven hundreds and thousands of times already.

In 1896 while the Wright brothers were running a very successful bicycle business, Otto Lilienthal, a German who was as obsessed with flying as the Wrights were with mechanical engineering, attempted to prove that flight was possible. In a newly constructed glider fitted with a motor, he took off from the hills outside of Berlin while a crowd watched with bated breath. He managed to soar 50 feet into the air before the wind stopped and his motor stalled, sending him plummeting to his death. The inscription on his grave read, "Sacrifices must be made." The Wright brothers, having read about it in the local newspaper decided that they were going to take up the challenge of flight and while the rest of the world was giving up on the possibility of humanity ever taking to the skies, the Wright brothers were busy making plans to build their own flying machine.

Wilbur Wright

One of the greatest people in history.
One of the greatest people in history. | Source

Lesson One

If you, like the Wright brothers have a specific skill set (and most people do, regardless of skill level) and a passion for that which you are skilled at, the possibilities are endless. Why settle for what has gone before when you can use that to develop something new? No matter what area your expertise is in, there is always room for development and improvement, but in order to do that you have to have a vision, a purpose, a will and an unassailable desire. If someone else has failed, therein lies your opportunity to pick up where they left off and continue on towards the completion. Almost everything that was said to be impossible has been conquered by man, from deep sea travel to flight and from flight to space flight. If you have a vision, a purpose, a will and unassailable desire you can achieve anything. Just stay away from the flock mentality of settling for less because it becomes infectious, the less time you spend in proximity to people afflicted with it, the better.

The Headline that Heralded the Coming of Flight


Lesson Two Notes

Be willing to do what it takes in order to achieve your dream.

Once the brothers had decided that they were going to prove to the world that flight was possible, they sent for Otto Lilienthal's book. Astoundingly, even though the book was in German that was still no obstacle for the Wright brothers. They simply taught themselves German! Truly two of the greatest people in history to go to such lengths to explore and fulfill their burning desire for mechanics. They went from printers to Bicycle producers and designers to flying machine inventors. There really was no limit for those two, in fact the sky was the only limit to their dreams. If they had lived today, who knows where their great vision and drive would have taken humanity. Perhaps they would have contributed great developments to the space program.

More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination. ~ Wilbur Wright

Greatest People Poll

Who had the greatest effect on the world

See results

The Beginning of Flight for Mankind

Lesson Two

Do whatever it takes to achieve your dream. Whatever you have to learn, or practice or build, do it and never slow down! Even if at first, progress is painfully slow, it is still progress! That slow progress will eventually lead to the fulfillment of your dream. The wright brothers succeeded mainly because they saw no obstacles, they only saw opportunities. They saw a chance to express their love of Mechanical engineering in the most perfect way possible, by building a flying machine that worked.

They didn't say, "Well, that German guy died so it can't be done. It's too dangerous." or "This guy's book is in German and we can't read German so it's over." They did what they had to do to and they did it because they loved what they were doing and had loved it since they were children. You see, most of us discover what it is we want to do for the rest of our lives while we are still kids, the problem is we let it go long before we become adults. We listen to all those doubters who rely on the system to survive, and then we become part of it ourselves, working on the grindstone but never really developing.

Find your dream again, and work out what it is you need to do in order to start working on it. The Wright brothers did it and they were faced with more obstacles than most, yet they prevailed. You can too if you steadfastly hold to your vision and never listen to the doubters that will be clamoring to put you off.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)