The Search For An Engine - Wednesday, December 3, 1902
The History: Marvin McFarland's book, The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright documents that letters were sent from the Wright Cycle Company to several engine manufacturers. Among these were:
The Wrights requested information on gasoline engines which weighed a maximum of 180 pounds, would not vibrate and could generate 8 to 9 brake horsepower [the actual horsepower the engine could generate]. None of the manufacturers could meet these requirements at that time.
So far the Wrights have only experimented with gliders - flight vehicles without engines. Clearly, they are now thinking of adding an engine to their glider. The Wrights have overcome the challenges of developing a control system to maneuver the flying machine and determining the size and curvature (shape) of the wings to generate enough lift so the wings will support machine in the air. Engine power is the last ingredient. As opposed to launching the glider from a height and descending down, the engine will allow them to rise in the air and sustain flight.