Home for Christmas …

Thurs. 17  In the afternoon about  5:30 we received the  following telegram from  Orvill, dated Kitty Hawk,  N.C., Dec. 17. "Bishop M.  Wright:  "Success four flights  Thursday morning  all against a twenty-  one mile wind started  from level with engine  power alone average speed  through the air thirty-one  miles - longest 57 seconds.  XXX home christmas. Orville  Fri. 18 Wright."  The Enquirer continu-  ed following head-  lines on the Wright's  flying. Dayton Jour-  nal and Cin. Tribune  contain nothing!  though I furnished  press reporter the news.

Milton Wright Diary Entry, Courtesy of Wright State University, viewed on Ohio Memory

Leading up to the holidays in December of 1903, Orville Wright sent a telegram home to his father, Bishop Milton Wright, about the now world-famous Wright Flyer flights of December 17th.  Orville was most excited about the final flight of the day, which spanned 852 feet in 57 seconds. He barely mentions the first and most historic flight, which lasted only 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. But that short flight was one of the great moments in history — the first controlled and sustained flight in a motorized aircraft.

At the end of the telegram, Orville writes that he and Wilbur would be home for Christmas.

It would be fascinating to know what their Christmas dinner conversation was and if they understood how much their invention would change the world. What do you think?

Check out this footage from a 1938 Army Air Corps film, posted on YouTube by the Engineers Club of Dayton:

Written by: Sharon Dean, Ph.D., Director of Museum and Library Services

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