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Orville Wright: The Art and Science of Aviation, 1914


The brothers continued to refine their invention and give demonstrations to potential customers—Wilbur in France and Orville in the United States. In a crash during a demonstration, a passenger observer was killed and Orville's serious injuries required a long hospital stay. By 1908, they were ready to establish the Wright Aircraft Company and begin to manufacture airplanes; the U.S. government was their first customer. Orville, less business-inclined, ran the factory operation while Wilbur served as president.

Almost immediately, Orville had to deal with the first of many competitors who infringed on the Wright's carefully protected patents; the resulting lawsuits continued for many years beyond Wilbur Wright's death in 1912. The verdict, confirming Orville's position that the Wrights invented controlled flight, came in 1914 at the time when a discouraged Orville was preparing to sell the company but delays by legal maneuvering continued on into the 1920s.

Orville sold the Wright Aircraft Company in 1915 and went home to a household run by his sister Katherine, built a laboratory close to the original bicycle shop and for the rest of his life worked there alone on any scientific research that took his fancy. He continued to advise others, among them his friend Charles Kettering, who partnered in creating the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company in 1917 just as The United States was entering World War I.