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The majority of human civilization constantly observes the history being made, almost every day. At the same time, some people manage to create history using wit, intellectual potential, and the opportunities they have. To make such a great contribution, one usually has to create or do something that would turn the way people understand everyday life upside down. In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright managed to create and launch the first motorized airplane that could controlled mid-air. This invention of the Wright brothers has not only radically changed the idea of transportation, but also the way people see many other aspects of their life, including time, space, and traveling.
Before the invention of the airplane, people would rely on the land transport for continental migration and on ferry for intercontinental migration. Trains, boats, and even the first cars were rather slow and far from perfect, hence, any trip would take overwhelmingly long time. This, in turn, largely strained globalization and the world progress. However, an invention of an airborne vehicle could largely solve this problem, offering a door towards the acceleration of nearly all imaginable processes around the world (Bereiter 234-235). The Wright brothers understood this and attempted their first experiments as early as in 1899 while field-testing first gliders. The automobile industry was on the rise at the time, hence, the brothers had an idea of powering the flight with an engine similar to the one invented by Carl Benz and found in the early automobiles.
The Wright brother, Wilbur and Orville did not have any particular background in mechanics and would seemingly have no potential of becoming inventors. Born into a family of a bishop, both brothers attended only 3 or 4 years of high schools as their formal education. Wilbur, the older brother born in 1867 could not earn his high school diploma because of the trauma, while Orville born in 1871 would choose to pursue the passion for aircrafts and bicycles shared by his brother. Wilbur and Orville opened their bike shop in 1892 and fixed bicycles there to make a living (“Wright Brothers”). At the same time, the brothers shared a strong passion for aircrafts inspired by the toy helicopter their father brought them when they were children. This passion in particular, the Wright brothers decided to pursue for the rest of their life.
By 1899, Wilbur and Orville managed to build several gliders that were tested to a rather limited success. The vehicle largely lacked control and was extremely dependent on weather conditions. The first thing that came to the minds of Wilbur and Orville was, of course, the bicycle mechanic. However, it proved unreliable in severe weather conditions as well as extremely limited. After a few years of research, the brothers decided to try the motor vehicle engine that was on the rise at the time. This resulted in the first controlled motorized airplane piloted by Wilbur in 1903 that flew for nearly one minute traveling for nearly 850 feet (“Wright Brothers”). That was an extraordinary achievement for that time, to complete a trip of nearly 300 meters within less than one minute. The rest would eventually become history.
The aviation industry would become autonomous and full-scale by 1909. Initially, the Wright brothers sold their aircrafts designed for short trips, however, after nearly 20 years, the first trip across the Atlantic Ocean would be made, setting the stage for a new era of globalization and international connection (Bereiter 242). The Wright brothers managed to make a breakthrough indeed. They demonstrated that large distances can be reached within a short time, which pushed global industries to acceleration and, essentially, the state of matter human civilization enjoys today.
It is quite challenging to imagine contemporary world without aircrafts and flight. Trips between different parts of the world takes only hours today, while it could take months just before the 20th century. Such a breakthrough allowed people to change the world at a much faster pace, which is probably hard to slow down today. The case of the Wright brothers demonstrates that passion, effort, patience, and inventiveness can change history. Largely due to the extraordinary thinking of Wilbur and Orville Wright, millions of people can deliver not only physical goods, but also new ideas around the world that keeps getting faster every day.
"Wright Brothers". History, 2020, https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/wright-brothers.
Bereiter, Carl. "Innovation In the Absence of Principled Knowledge: The Case of The Wright Brothers". Creativity And Innovation Management, vol 18, no. 3, 2009, pp. 234-241. Wiley, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8691.2009.00528.x. Accessed 20 May 2022.
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