Orville Wright (1871 - 1948)

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Orville Wright
1871 - 1948
August 19, 1871
Dayton, Ohio USA
January 30, 1948
Dayton, Ohio USA
Orville Wright was born on August 19, 1871 in Dayton, Ohio USA. He is the child of Susan Catherine (Koerner) Wright and Milton Wright, with siblings Wilbur, Katharine, Reuchlin, Lorin, Ida, and Otis. He died on January 30, 1948 in Dayton, Ohio USA at 76 years old.
Updated: May 13, 2022
Along with his brother, Wilber, Orville Wright is known for being a pioneer in aviation in the U.S. They invented, built, and flew the world's first successful motor-operated airplane in 1903. Their first enterprise was a bicycle shop - they repaired and sold bicycles! Neither of the brothers had middle names as their father wanted to give them "unique enough" first names.
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Orville Wright
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Orville Wright
Full name
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Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did Orville move a lot? Where was his last known location?
Last known residence
Orville Wright was born on in Dayton, Ohio USA
Orville Wright died on in Dayton, Ohio USA
Heart attack
Cause of death
February 2, 1948
Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio USA
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

English and Dutch from his father (Milton Wright) German and Swiss from his mother (Susan Catherine Koerner) It is said that his grandmother (Milton's mother) is a descendant of the Vanderbilt family.

Nationality & Locations

Orville was born in in Dayton, Ohio in 1871. As his father was a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, the family moved a lot including spending time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1878-1881), Richmond, Indiana (1881-1884), and eventually moved back to Dayton, Ohio in 1884.


Orville attended public high school and was quoted saying he grew up in a home where“there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity.” He ended up dropping out of high school junior year to open a printing business in 1889 with his brother Wilbur. The two brothers started a weekly paper titled " West Side News" with Orville as publisher and Wilbur as editor.


Not much is said about Orville's religious beliefs, but it is known that their father was a Bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Orville was named after clergyman "Orville Dewey", and he never worked on Sundays, used tobacco or drank alcohol (similar to the beliefs of his father).


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In 1889, the bothers opened a writing business and began a weekly newspaper by the name of “West Side News”. Their next venture began in 1892, when the brothers opened a bike repair and sales shop called “the Wright Cycle Exchange” which spurred due to the national bicycle craze. IN 1892 they began manufacturing their own bikes and changed the name of the shop to the “Wright Cycle Company. This business gave the two the monetary funds to start their flight research. In 1899 the brothers began testing out wing warping, by building and flying a biplane kite which would be their start towards the first successful flight. The brothers then moved to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to further their flight studies and theories and begin their first test flights. Once in Kitty Hawk the brothers worked on gliders using other known facts at the time to improve and better their flying capabilities. Some information has led us to believe that Wilbur did all of the gliding until 1902 as his big brother duty to protect younger brother Orville. After more testing, they built their third full scale glider that ran perfectly during test flights at Kill Devil Hills in Sept 1902. In the Winter of 1902, they built a wind tunnel, a gasoline engine powerful and light enough to propel a plane, airplane propellers, and a powered aircraft. With all of this ready, they headed back to Kill Devil Hills to assemble and test their powered flying machine for 7 weeks in September 1903. It was on December 17 1903 that Orville made the first successful flight flying a distance of 120 feet in 12 seconds. The brothers then took turns trying to beat each others record for a total of 4 flights that day. 1st flight Orville: 120 feet, 12 seconds 2nd flight Wilbur: 175 feet, 12 seconds 3rd flight Orville: 200 feet, 15 seconds 4th flight Wilbur: 825 feet, 59 seconds

Personal Life

Inventor, Aviation

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Orville Wright died on January 30, 1948 in Dayton, Ohio USA at 76 years old. he was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio USA. He was born on August 19, 1871 in Dayton, Ohio USA. He is the child of Susan Catherine (Koerner) Wright and Milton Wright, with siblings Wilbur, Katharine, Reuchlin, Lorin, Ida, and Otis.

1871 - 1948 World Events

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In 1871, in the year that Orville Wright was born, on March 29th, Royal Albert Hall in London was officially opened by Queen Victoria. Construction had begun in 1867 and the hall was named after Queen Victoria's husband, who had died in 1861 - 10 years before.

In 1897, he was 26 years old when on July 17th, the Klondike Gold Rush began when the first successful prospectors returned to Seattle after mining in the Yukon. They arrived on the ships Excelsior and Portland, bringing vast quantities of gold - over $32,000,000 in today's money - and everyone rushed to become rich in the Yukon.

In 1904, when he was 33 years old, the World's Fair, officially known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, was held in St. Louis, Missouri. Attended by nearly 19.7 million people (and later the subject of a Judy Garland film), the Fair was funded by federal, state and local sources to the tune of $15 million. As the name suggests, the Fair was suggested as a way to celebrate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In the past, World's Fairs were a way of bringing new technology to the attention of the masses and this fair was no exception - the use of electricity (the public feared it at the time), personal cars, airplanes, and the electric streetcar were all highlighted.

In 1918, by the time he was 47 years old, in January, President Wilson presented his Fourteen Points, which assured citizens that World War I was being fought for a moral cause and outlined a plan for postwar peace in Europe. The only leader of the Allies to present such a plan, the Europeans thought Wilson was being too idealistic. The points included free trade, open agreements, democracy and self-determination. They were based on the research and suggestions of 150 advisors.

In 1948, in the year of Orville Wright's passing, on May 14th, the State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel's first Premier, and the U.S. officially recognized Israel. That evening, Egypt launched an air assault on Israel.

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