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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

A markerKitty 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

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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.

Do you know of anyone else I could add to the greatest people in history hub series?

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    • Richawriter profile image

      Richard J ONeill 5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Thank you very much Trishagague!

      There will be much more to come from.

      Have a great day and thanks for commenting.

      Peace. :)

    • trishagague profile image

      trishagague 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      You have great hubs here. I love reading and learning inventors, scientists, engineers and architects..They are great people whom develop new things.

    • Richawriter profile image

      Richard J ONeill 5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Thank you Alastar.

      In your state huh, that's awesome my friend. Are they doing the handgliding there too? You ever go there. It must feel humbling to go to such a place, knowing what it started off.

      Yeah, I did disappear for a while because I stopped writing. Ran out of steam, but now I'm back. I started up a zombie story blog to practice and perfect my fiction skills and I can see I have improved when I compare the stories from here to the ones on my blog so I'm very happy.

      However, I'm back to HP for good now, there will be times when I can't get to the computer but I plan to write many more articles this year. Hopefully, there will be 20 in this history/advice series i'm doing and then after that perhaps battles, inventions, aliens, self-help, Tefl.

      I'm glad to be back and always thought of hubpages while away, especially the Legend - Alastar Packer!

      Take care mate. :)

    • Richawriter profile image

      Richard J ONeill 5 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      Hey, WD Curry 111.

      I had a look at that youtube video and also looked up Nags Head N.C and it sounds like a great place over there. Just my cup of tea. All the nature and such.

      Take care.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Nice write on the bros and good lessons Rich. Kitty Hawks in my State you know, the plane is even on some of the tags, which says First in Flight. Man is it good to see your alright and back in action, thought you'd left the HP.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      I understand this is a series. The people in Nags Head N.C. will tell you who the most important people in history. Did you know they go hang gliding on the very spot today?