Wright Again

Wright Again

Selling Kites - About 1880

The History: Making and flying kites was a popular hobby in the late 1800's. As a youngster, Orville decided he wanted to sell kites. Wilbur explained to Orville, he would have to make his kites different and grander than anyone else's . Otherwise, people could make the same kite themselves and they wouldn't need to purchase one from Orville. Orville did just that!

Even as boys, Wilbur and Orville Wright were young entrepreneurs (individuals that establish and manage a business) and earned money on their own. Orville collected and sold bones to a fertilizer factory. He also sold metal scraps. Years later, Orville would still be teased about starting a "chawin' gum corporation" when he decided to concoct chewing gum out of sugar and tar.

As a young man of eighteen, Orville started a printing business, which Wilbur later joined. A childhood friend of Orville's, Ed Sines, also worked at the print shop.

In the early 1890's, cycling was "the rage". The new "safety bicycle" (a bicycle with front and back wheels the same size) was an inexpensive and accessible form of personal transportation. The Wright's placed Ed Sines in charge of the print shop as they opened a bicycle shop across the street. They sold, rented and repair bicycles. Their bicycle business became very successful!

So we can see that as young boys, Wilbur and Orville developed skills that would help them later in life as businessmen. They understood that to make money, you would have to sell a product for more than it cost to produce it. They learned that you needed clients - either other businesses (like the fertilizer factory) or individuals (like those who purchased kites from Orville).

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Last modified: Wed Apr 23 16:10:40 PDT 2002
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