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Wilbur and Orville Wright: A Chronology

Year: 1910

Orville and Wilbur issued aviator’s licenses Nos. 4 and 5 by Aero Club of America in accordance with Federation Aeronautique Internationale Rules.

January Ground broken for construction of Wright Company factor in Dayton.

January 3. Preliminary injunction granted to the Wright Company by Judge John R. Hazel for the Federal Circuit Court in Buffalo, N.Y., restraining Herring-Curtiss Company and Glenn H. Curtiss from manufacturing, selling, or using the Curtiss airplane for exhibition purposes.

January 4. On application of the Wright Company, Louis Paulhan, French aviator, is served with injunction restraining him from using several flying machines, claimed to infringe the Wright patents, which were imported into the United Stats for exhibition purpose.

Wilbur and Orville submitted affidavits in this case on January 5 –6.

Wilbur submitted additional affidavits on January 22, February 5, March 15 – 16, and on March 23. He traveled to New York to attend the trial on January 30, returning to Dayton on February 7.

January 8. Wilbur and Orville leave Dayton to attend meeting of Ohio Society of New York on January 10, returning to Dayton on January 14.

January 10. Wrights honored at dinner in New York given by Ohio Society of New York, the topic if the evening being “Ohio in Aviation.” Other honored guests are Vice President James M. Sherman and Governor of New Jersey John F. Fort.

In a rare political statement Wilbur predicts that an Ohioan will be the next President.

In interview Orville and Wilbur answer attacks made on them for seeking injunctions against foreign and domestic aviators, stating that the patent laws of the United States are too lax in that they force a patentee to take legal steps to protect his patent infringement, instead of having the government take this action.

January 11. Editors of Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary write to Wright brothers regarding aeronautical definitions. Orville revises many outdated definitions previously used and is designated department editor for “Aviation and Aeronautics” for the 1913 edition of the dictionary. He continues in this capacity for numerous subsequent editions.

January 12. Orville and Wilbur attend dinner in Boston honoring Octave Chanute.

Remarks by Wilbur on this occasion and by Chanute in an interview reported in the New York World of January 17 threatened to cause a rift in their longstanding relationship.

January 17. Wilbur sends telegram to Roy Knabenshue in Los Angeles inviting him to come to Dayton to discuss the management of exhibition flying business to be organized by Wrights. Knabenshue was subsequently placed in charge of the Wright Exhibition Company organized in March.

January 24. Wrights attend dinner in Dayton honoring Comdr. Robert E. Peary.

February 8. Wilbur and Orville to Washington to receive Smithsonian Institution medals

Orville returns to Dayton on February 11. Wilbur continues on a trip to the South in search of a site for training aviators during the winter months, returning to Dayton on February 25.

February 10. The first Langley Medal, designed by J. C. Chaplain, awarded “for especially meritorious investigation in connection with the science of aerodromics and its application to aviation,” presented to the Wright brothers by Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution. Addresses are delivered on the occasion by Alexander Graham Bell and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge. Wilbur responds for the brothers. They are later entertained at a luncheon at the home of Dr. Bell.

February 17. Judge Learned Hand issues temporary injunction to Wright Company in suit against Louis Paulhan for his use of a Farman flying machine, which, it was claimed, infringed the Wright patent, requiring the defendant to file a bond for $25,000 for one month’s flights and affirming earlier decision rendered by Judge John R. Hazel on January 3.

Wilbur reports that he has chosen Montgomery, Ala., as site for training aviators.

This was later the location of Maxwell Air Force Base.

February 19. Wilbur arrives in New York to push patent suits against aviators infringing the Wright patents.

February 23. Ligue Nationale Aerienne in Paris awards its Aviator Diploma to Wilbur and Orville.

March. Wrights are extensively involved in The Wright Company v. The Herring-Curtiss Company and Glenn H. Curtiss patent suit.

Wilbur and Orville submit depositions in Dayton on march 7. Wilbur goes to New York on March 7 and submits affidavit March 12. He then goes to Buffalo and march 18 and submits affidavit on March 19, returning to Dayton on March 20.

            Wright Exhibition company formed, with Roy Knabenshue as manager.

The company continues in operation until November 1911. The fliers are paid by the Wright Company.

Miss Mabel Beck engaged to secretary to Roy Knabenshue. Because of her special competence, Wilbur later selects her to work with him in connection with Wright patent suits. Following his death she became Orville’s secretary, continuing in this position until his death.

March 7. Smithsonian Institution, in letter to Wilbur, invites Wrights to deposit one of their machines in the National Museum.

German-built Wright airplane shown in Riga, Larvia, at exhibit organized by Riga student aeronautical group.

March 19. Wright airplane, intended for use in the Wright brothers’ training camp just outside the city of Montgomery, Ala., arrives, accompanied by Charles E. Taylor and students Walter R. Brookins and J. W. Davis.

March 24. Orville, accompanied by Spencer Crane, arrives in Montgomery, Ala., from Dayton to undertake training of civilian fliers.

In interview in Baltimore, Md., Wilbur states that he favors cross-country reliability flight in preference so speed contest.

March 26. Replying to Dr. Walcott’s letter on March 7, Wilbur states that the brothers, in accordance with the preferences of the National Museum, could provide a model showing the general construction of one of their machines, the original 1903 Wright machine, or a model showing the general design of this machine.

March 26 – May 5. Orville conducts flight training school in Montgomery for five students who were to engage in exhibition flying for the Wright Company.

March 28. Walter R. Brookins, first civilian student of the Wrights, makes first flight with Orville at Montgomery, Ala.,

Brookins completed his flight training on May 3.

Wilbur completes negotiations for purchase of 17-acre tract which Wrights named Hawthorn Hill, in the Dayton suburb of Oakwood. Plans for a house are started.

April 6. Orville, awaiting parts for his engine, damaged on April 2, visits State Capitol, in Montgomery, and meets Alabama governor Braxton B. Corner and other state officials. He is shown spot on which Jefferson Davis stood when he was inaugurated President of the confederacy.

April 8. Wright Company and the Aero Club of America conclude agreement by which the latter agrees to sanction meets only through proper arrangements with the Wrights.

This agreement was publicly announced to members of the Aero Club of America and to its affiliated clubs in a communication dated April 21

April 9. Orville returns to Dayton from Montgomery to obtain parts for his damaged machine.

April 11. Dr. Walcott, replying to Wilbur’s letter of March 26, sets forth objects illustrating the Wright inventions which are desirable for the national Museum exhibits. Wrights interpret the letter to mean that the Smithsonian Institution did not want an exhibit that would emphasize the fact of their having flown a successful, man-carrying machine in 1903 and make no reply.

April 21. Aero Club of America announces in special bulletin to its membership the details of the Wright-Aero Club agreement of April 8.

May – June 8. Orville and the Wright Exhibition company fliers make numerous flights at Simms Station in preparation for the air show at Indianapolis, June 13 – 18.

May 5. Wright training camp completed in Dayton. Wright company starts school, with Orville in charge of instruction.

This school was in operation from 1910 to 1916.

May 7. Wilbur, in letter to the editor of Aircraft, responds to statements made by Israel Ludlow and Clement Ader in the may 1910 issue of the magazine concerning his affidavit in the Paulhan infringement suit. He claims Ludlow misrepresented the facts in claiming that Ader flew a thousand feet.

May 19. Wright company and Aero Club of St. Louis enter into contract whereby Wright Company licenses aviation meet to be held in St. Louis, October 8 – 18, 1910, and agrees to provide five or more aircraft and pilots, under the general direction of Roy Knabenshue.

May 21. Wilbur makes flight of one minute 29 seconds at Simms Station, his last as a pilot in the United States.

May 25. Orville takes his father, 82 years old, for his first airplane ride, a flight of six minutes 55 seconds, reaching an altitude of 350 feet.

Flight made by Wilbur and Orville together, Orville piloting, the only occasion when two brothers were in the air at the same time.

May 30. Orville and Wilbur and Wright exhibition fliers Frank Coffyn, Ralph Johnstone, and Walter Brookins visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for air show to be held in June.

June 10. Wright airplanes sent to Indianapolis.

June 11. Wilbur goes to Indianapolis to attend air meet. Orville joins him for opening of meet, and they return to Dayton on June 19.

June 13 – 18. First show of Wright company exhibition team, Indianapolis, Ind., in which Brookins is star and sets new records.

June 14. Circuit Court of Appeals reveres decision of Judge John R. Hazel on January 3 and directs that injunction granted Wright Company be dismissed and requirement for bond be canceled.

June 19. Wilbur goes to New York, seeking modification of June 14 decision of U.S. Appellate Court, asking that Herring-Curtiss Company and Glenn H. Curtiss be required to give bond.

June 22. Wrights receive honorary doctor of laws degrees from Oberlin College.

June 29. First Wright Model B airplane completed.

July 8 – 16. Wright Company fliers Walter Brookins, Ralph Johnstone, Frank Coffyn, and Duval La Chapelle make 17 flights in Toronto in fulfillment of contract with International Aviation Association.

July 16. Scientific American publishes letter from Wilbur sent from Dayton on July 1, in which he disputes statement on June 25 editorial that “Curtiss was using hinged winged tips in his earlier machines, with which he made public flights antedating the open flights of the Wrights.”

July 21. Wright Company and Aero and Motor Club of Asbury Park, N.J., enter into contract providing that Wright airplanes appear at aviation meet to be held at Asbury Park, August 10 – 13, 15 – 20. Wright Company fliers Walter Brookins, Ralph Johnstone, Arch Hoxey, Frank Coffyn, and Duval La Chapelle were to be present. Wright Company was to receive $20,0000 of the gross receipts.         

Wrights install and conduct experiments with wheels on their machine for the first time at Simms Station, Dayton.

July 24 – August. Griffith Brewer, British balloonist, member of the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain first Englishman to fly with Wilbur at Le mans on October 8, 1908, and close friend of the Wrights, is guest at Wright home in Dayton, the first of many annual visits.

Visits were made in 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1918 and continued year by year until interrupted by World war II, approximately 30 visits altogether.

August 10. First public appearance of a Wright airplane with wheels under the skids made at air meet at Asbury Park.

Experimental trials with wheels had been carried out by the Wrights as early as July 21.

August 11. Wilbur arrives in Asbury Park to witness flights by Wright Company exhibition fliers and seeks to determine cause of accident on August 10, the opening day of the air meet, in which Walter Brookins was injured.

August 12. Commissioner of patents declared interference in action against Wilbur and Orville brought by Erastus E. Winkley, an inventor, who developed an automatic control for sewing machines and conceived the idea that this control could be applied to regulating airplane wings and claimed its disclosure at an earlier date than that of Wrights.

August 15. Wright airplane of new design without front elevators arrives at Asbury Park to replace plane damaged on August 10.

This airplane was flown for the first time on August 19.

August 19. Wright Exhibition Company fliers Ralph Johnstone and Arch Hoxsey carry out moonlight flights at Asbury Park, first public night flights on record.

September 21. Wilbur and Orville, together with Clifford B. Harmon, president, National Council, Aero Club of America, are honored at banquet at Dayton Club given by Dayton Aeroplane Club and Dayton Aero Club.

September 22. Orville flies from Simms Station to Dayton, circles city and returns, the first flight over the cit o f Dayton. Flight is part of an Aviation Day program held during exposition week in Dayton.

September 23 Katharine flies with Orville at Simms Station, Dayton at an altitude of a thousand feet.

September 29. Wilbur, in a special car attached to an Illinois Central train, follows Walter Brookins, who flies Wright biplane from Washington Park, in Chicago, to the fair grounds in Springfield, Ill., a distance of 192 1/2 miles, establishing a new American cross-country flying record. The flight is sponsored by the Chicago Record-Herald. Stops are made at Gilman, 75 miles, and at Mt. Pulaski, 136 miles.

October 5. Dayton Aeroplane Club appoints committee to develop plans for the erection of a memorial in Dayton to its honorary members, Wilbur and Orville.

October 12. Wright Mode R airplane, called the “Baby Grand,” completed and ready for testing.

October 22. Orville completes and tests new eight-cylinder, developed for use in the Wright Model R, attaining speed of 77 to 78 miles an hour.

October 22 – 30. Wright airplanes participate in International Aviation Tournament at Belmont Park, N.Y.

October 23. Orville, in Baby Grand, attains speed of between 70 and 80 miles an hour.

October 29. Baby Grand, piloted by Walter Brookins, is wrecked in preliminary test in preparation for International Aviation Cup.

October 31. Wilbur and Orville are guests at luncheon given by Alexander Ogilvie at Delmonico’s in New York for fliers who had participated in the Belmont Park aviation meet, after declining an invitation by Aero Club of America to a banquet at plaza Hotel.

November. Wright factory in Dayton completed.

In its early period of operation, this factory produced about two airplanes a month. To meet the demands of business a duplicate factor building was erected in 1911.

November 1. With Cornelius Vanderbilt, Wright Company director, as passenger, Orville flies at Belmont Park, reaching an altitude of 200 feet and circling the course six or seven times.

This was the first flight for Vanderbilt.

November 3. Orville reports week financially successful. Wrights receive $20,000 for participating in Belmont Park meeting and win $15,000 in prizes. Wright company votes Orville and Wilbur $10,000 and declares dividend of $80,000.

November 5. Wilbur goes to Baltimore to attend aviation meet scheduled to open November 2. Meet postponed on account of high winds.

November 7. Orville and Katharine witness departure of Phil O. Parmalee, Wright Company pilot, in Wright airplane carrying 10 bolts of silk, consigned to the Morehouse-Martens Company, from Dayton to Columbus, first use of a plane to carry commercial freight.

November 13. Orville leaves Dayton for Europe on business related to the Wright companies in France and Germany, sailing from New York on November 15 on the Kronprinzessin Cecilie, arriving in Berlin on November 23.

November 17. Wright Exhibition Company flier Ralph Johnstone killed in crash at Overland Park, Denver. Wilbur, in New York, accompanies widow to her home in Kansas City, Mo., and attends Johnstone’s funeral there.

November 24. Orville writes Wilbur from Berlin on this date and again on November 27, reporting that the German Wright Company is being managed inefficiently and despairs that the company will ever be financially successful. The report on the French Wright Company equally unfavorable.

November 25. Wilbur attends funeral of Octave Chanute in Chicago. Chanute had died on November 23, age 79.

November 29. Wrights file bill of complaint in U.S. Circuit Court, Southern District of New York, in suit for $29,000 for infringement and accounting against Claude Grahame-White by reason of defendant’s use of Farman and Bleriot flying machines in the United States.

These machines are alleged to infringe the Wright patent.

December 6. Wright Company institutes suit against the Aero Corporation, Ltd., for $15,000 claimed due as bonus for participation of Wright machines in Belmont Park aviation meet.

This suit was dismissed by Justice Daniel F. Cohalan of the New York Supreme Court, January 19, 1912, on grounds that the Wrights had insufficient cause for action.

December 17. In letter to editor of Aero, Wilbur replies to editorial in November 26th issue, which he claimed distorted his views, and states that the Wrights believed in “all kinds of flying which demonstrate the merits of the machine.”

December 26. Frank H. Russell, manager of the Wright Company, reports that the company has granted Ralph Johnstone’s widow, who was returning to Berlin, and annuity of 300 marks per month for a period of 15 years.

December 29. Orville arrives in Dayton following European trip.

December 31. Wright Exhibition Company flier Arch Hoxsey killed in Los Angeles. Wright Company bear cost of funeral expenses and contributes money to his mother, Mrs. M. C. Hoxsey.

December 31 – January 7, 1911. Wright ‘Roadster” and Wright standard Model B exhibited at New York Aero Show, a part of the automobile, show.