Friday, December 17, 2010

The Wright Brothers


The chilly December day
two shivering bicycle mechanics from
Dayton, Ohio
first felt their homemade contraption
whittled out of hickory sticks,
gummed together with Arnstein’s bicycle
cement,stretched with muslin they’d sewn on
their sister’s sewing machine in
their own backyard on Hawthorn
Street in Dayton, Ohio
soar into the air
above the dunes and the wide beach
at Kitty Hawk.

-  John Roderigo Dos Passos
From The Big Money [1936]. The Campers at Kitty Hawk
That chilly day in December was December 17, 1903.  The “two shivering bicycle mechanics” were Orville and Wilbur Wright, two brothers from Dayton, Ohio.  Wilbur, the older of the brothers, was born near Millville, Indiana on April 16, 1867.  Orville Wright was born at 7 Hawthorn Street in Dayton on August 19, 1871.  They made history together, 107 yrears ago today.
The Wright Brothers were the sons of Milton Wright, a clergyman from Indiana, and his wife, Susan.  They had two older brothers, Reuchlin and Lorin, and a younger sister, Katharine.  The family was required to move often due to Milton Wright’s duties as a minister, and later a bishop, in the Church of the United Brethren of Christ.  In fact, the Wrights moved twelve times before settling in Dayton, Ohio in 1870.  Although they moved again in 1878, they never sold their house on Hawthorn Street in Dayton.  It was a constant in their lives and they kept returning to it.  To view various photos of 7 Hawthorn Street, click on the link below.
The Wright Brothers built a flying machine in the back room of their bicycle shop in Dayton.  On the morning of December 17, 1903, they took turns piloting and monitoring the powered Wright Flower I in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  Orville was the pilot for the first of the four flights.  The first flight lasted 12 seconds and 120 feet.  On the fourth flight, Wilbur travelled 852 feet and remained airborne for 59 seconds. 
The afternoon of their historic flight, the brothers walked 4 miles (6.44 km) to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and sent a telegram to their father back home in Dayton.
Success/   four flights Thursday
morning/  all against twenty-one mile
wind/  started from level with engine
power alone/ average speed through
air thirty thirty-one miles/   longest fifty-nine
seconds/   inform press/  home Christmas

- Telegram to the Reverend Milton Wright,
from Kitty Hawk, N.C. [December 17. 1903]

Some interesting facts about Orville and Wilbur Wright and their family:
* Orville and Wilbur were the only members of their immediate family who did not receive a high school diploma, attend university, or marry.
* Wilbur Wright died in Dayton, Ohio on May 30, 1912.  He was only 45 years old.  Orville Wright died on January 30, 1948 in Dayton at the age of 76.
* The Wright Brothers` interest in flying was sparked by a rubber-band powered toy helicopter, a childhood gift from their father in 1878.
* None of the Wright children was given a middle name.  Wilbur was named after Wilbur Fiske and Orville for Orville Dewey, both of whom were clergymen that Milton Wright admired.  Friends of Wilbur and Orville Wright called them “Will” and “Orv.”  The brothers called each other “Ullam” and “Bubs.”

In most traditions, The Twelve Days of Christmas consist of the festive days beginning on Christmas Day and ending on the night of January 5 (Twelfth Night) followed by the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 (the celebration of the arrival of the Magi, the Three Wise Men from the East).  The night of January 5th, the eve of the Epiphany has been traditionally a night of merriment and revelry; hence, the title of Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night.

Edwin Encarnacion is back with the Toronto Blue Jays, but he won’t be playing third base.  This time,  the 27-year-old Dominican will be the designated hitter.  The Jays are going to experiment with Adam Lind at first base.  If Lind can’t handle the job well enough, then he and Encarnacion will switch positions. 
I just hope that Bautista doesn’t end up playing third base regularly.  He prefers to be in right fielder.  He has a good throwing arm.  The Jays need to acquire a third baseman, a catcher and a closer.  I suppose that’s easier said than done.  However, those positions have to be filled.
The Jays are still in the hunt for pitcher Zack Greinke.  He’s going to be difficult to acquire.  The New York Yankees are one of the many teams in the competition for the right-hander.  The Yanks signed pitcher Chen-Ming Wong yesterday.
- Joanne

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