Testimonial to Orville Wright

Excerpt from an article in Technology Review, vol. 18, no. 7 (July 1916).


Notable gathering of men prominent in aeronautic engineering
at dinner given to the pioneer inventor

 

A dinner was given to Orville Wright at the Engineers Club in Boston by the Dedication Reunion Committee, June 12.

Although the dinner was informal and the speaking was carried on across the table, it was recognized as one of the most interesting aeronautical meetings ever held, owing to the number of distinguished scientists who gathered to honor Mr. Wright.

It was a recognition by Technology of the debt science and civilization owes Orville Wright and his brother for their epochmaking discovery in 1903, and it was a modest tribute to their genius from some of the men in the United States who have done much to advance the science of aeronautics.

Professor C. H. Peabody, the head of the department of naval architecture, and under whose supervision the course in aeronautics at the Institute is conducted, presided, and asked several of the distinguished Guests to relate some of their experiences in connection with the Wrights' early work.

Mr. Alexander Graham Bell told of his early experiments in aeronautics and of his long-standing interest in the subject through the investigations he had made of the work of Lilienthal, Pilcher, Adler, and others. He spoke of his pleasure in hearing the news of the first work of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. At that time few would believe that the problem of dynamic flight had been solved, but as he knew that it was near solution, he was prepared to believe it and announced publicly his belief in the Wrights.

Mr. Wright paid Mr. Bell the compliment of saying that, in his opinion, Mr. Bell was the first man of scientific standing to publicly express his belief in their success. Mr. Wright told of the difficulties that were encountered in this country of securing recognition, and how they had offered their patents to the world for $100,000, but without result. He told of their difficulties in the first experimental work. He smiled when he said that the first time an aeroplane had risen from the ground without a starting device was due to the fact that during an exhibition given for the King of Spain, their machine landed on slippery grass and kept going so well that they tried and succeeded in getting off without their starting weights. Many other personal incidents connected with Kitty Hawk were related by Mr. Wright....

 


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