MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections

Model of the Wright Brothers' Airplane

From Modell eines Aeroplans der Brüder Wright...
Vail Collection

This image of a model of the Wright Brothers’ airplane is from Modell eines Aeroplans der Brüder Wright, by Walter Häntzschel, published in Germany in the early 1900s. The volume contains the illustration, several pages of explanation, and a key to the parts of the plane numbered on the model. The illustration is actually multiple overlapping flaps, somewhat similar to a children’s “pop-up” book. By lifting the flaps the viewer is able to penetrate deeper and deeper into the lithographed image of the airplane to see how its external and internal parts are positioned.

The plane, the world’s first power-driven, heavier-than-air craft, was designed and built by inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright. It was first flown successfully on 17 December 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Modell eines Aeroplans der Brüder Wright is one of many volumes in the Vail Collection of rare books. The Vail Collection contains thousands of volumes on the history of science and technology, among them many that document the history of man’s efforts to fly. Researchers can use materials from the Vail Collection in the reading room of the Institute Archives and Special Collections. Microfiche copies of the card catalog are available in the Institute Archives as well as in the divisional libraries at MIT.

Object of the Month: December 2003

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