Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


History captured in Wright Brothers’ photographs

FreightWaves Classics is sponsored by Old Dominion Freight Line — Helping the World Keep Promises. Learn more here.

Two brothers from Dayton, Ohio, in the early 20th century made history when they created a flying machine and literally launched modern-day aviation. Wilbur and Orville Wright famously went from bicycle repairmen to the fathers of flight on Dec. 17, 1903, when Orville piloted the first flight, which lasted just 12 seconds and 120 feet.  

The Library of Congress has an extensive collection of negatives donated by Orville Wright’s estate documenting the brothers’ work as well as their personal lives between 1898 and 1911. Most pictures were taken by the brothers themselves. Family, friends, successes, trials and tribulations make up the collection, showcasing a fulfilling and exciting adventure. 

Take a look at some of the photographs: 

Orville Wright stands at the left wing of an upended glider. (Photo: Library of Congress)
Wilbur stands at the left holding one end of glider while Orville lies in the machine and employee Dan Tate holds the right side. (Photo: Library of Congress)
The rear side of the Wright family home in Dayton, Ohio, which stayed in the family from 1871 to 1948, when Orville who was occupying the home died. (Photo: Library of Congress)
Orville Wright sits with friends looking through photographs. (Photo: Library of Congress).
Wilbur Wright works in the bicycle repair shop the brothers originally ran. (Photo: Library of Congress)
The glider crumped from the wind and wrecked on Hill of the Wreck, ironically named after a shipwreck. (Photo: Library of Congress)
A left side view of the 1900 Wright glider before a forward horizontal control surface was installed. (Photo: Library of Congress)
A view from the left front side of the Wright brothers’ reconstructed 1903 motor. (Photo: Library of Congress).
A close-up view of Wright Brother’s airplane, including the pilot and passenger seats. (Photo: Library of Congress)
Orville Wright’s dog Scipio sitting on the family home front porch to the end the gallery on a happy note. (Photo: Library of Congress)

FreightWaves Classics articles look at various aspects of the transportation industry’s history. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter!

Have a topic you want me to cover? Email me at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter.

Future of Supply Chain


The greatest minds in the transportation, logistics and supply chain industries will share insights, predict future trends and showcase emerging technology the FreightWaves way–with engaging discussions, rapid-fire demos, interactive sponsor kiosks and more.