The Franklin Institute's Resources for Science Learning x
Home (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)For Learners (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)For Educators (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)Leadership (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)Partnership (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)About Us (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)

Wright Aeronautical Engineering Collection

Orville instructed that, upon his death, The Franklin Institute should receive his collection of airfoils and devices. The Franklin Institute was the first scientific organization to give the Wright brothers credit and ranking for achieving sustained powered flight. Today, The Franklin Institute Science Museum has the largest collection of artifacts from the Wright brothers' workshop. Efforts are underway to provide online access to the entire collection. So far, the priority has been on objects that represent 1896 through 1904, the time of the most significant objects.

The following text about the collection appeared in the August, 1951 edition of the "Journal of The Franklin Institute."

"Dr. Orville Wright deeded to The Franklin Institute in his will and through the Executors of his Estate all of his and his brother's, Wilbur Wright's, original wind tunnel apparatus, model airfoils, test data and drawings of their early airplanes. The collection also includes airfoil models tested at McCook Field during 1910, 1920, and 1921 as well as some of Orville Wright's experimental aviation devices with which he worked during his lifetime. These include a shaper and cutters to prepare wax airfoil models, a special scale, smoke apparatus for wind tunnel use, a bank indicator, an incidence indicator, automatic control devices for wind tunnel and airplane control, an automatic landing device and a cypher machine.

Among the original drawings the collection includes those of the first successful airplane—the 1903 biplane, and the 1904, 1905, 1907, and 1910 biplanes. Engine drawings include the 1910 motor and prints of the 1903 motor.

In addition to the intrinsic and irreplaceable value of the many items in the collection there exists within them a record of the logical, step-by-step program of engineering research and development by which the Wright Brothers enabled themselves to achieve success in flying their first powered airplane. Therein lies a record of their systematic wind tunnel tests conducted to give them reliable lift, drag, and L/D values to enable them to engineer the design of the first successful airplane. Test results were collaborated by building and test-flying gliders to determine the scale effects from wind tunnel data to full scale wings. It is no little wonder that by such scientific methods two men, then known better for their printing, publishing, and bicycle activities, were first to conquer the art of flight with a heavier than air machine."


Below is a listing of the objects from the Wright Brothers Aeronautical Engineering Collection that are currently accessible online.

Photographs
Wright Brothers / small / large
Orville Wright / small / large
Wilbur Wright / small / large
North Carolina / small / large
Glider as Kite / small / large
Glider in Flight / small / large
Glider in Air / small / large
Front View of 1903 Flyer / small / large
Side View of 1903 Flyer / large
December 17, 1903 / small / medium / large
At Camp / small / large
Onlookers (not 1903) / small / large

The Original Lift/Drag Balance
Top Angle / small / medium / large
Front / small / medium / large
End View / small / medium / large
Side / small / medium / large
Low Angle / small / medium / large
Low Side / small / medium / large
Another Low Side / small / medium / large
Low End View / small / medium / large

Wind Tunnel Replica
Top Angle / small / medium / large
Front / small / medium / large
Inside / small / medium / large
Side / small / medium / large
Top / small / medium / large

3-D Model of Original L/D Balance and Wind Tunnel Replica
Image - Side View
Image - Top View
Image - Side View
Image - Lift/Drag Balance
Image - Lift/Drag Balance
Image - Lift/Drag Balance
Image - Lift/Drag Balance
QuickTime Animation - Version 1
QuickTime Animation - Version 2
QuickTime Animation - Version 3
QuickTime Animation - Version 4
QTVR File - Wind Tunnel

Airfoils
The Airfoil Collection
Image - Airfoils
Small Image - Three Airfoils
Airfoil #54 / image / QTVR
Airfoil #32 / image / QTVR
Airfoil #26 / image / QTVR

Wallpaper
The Wallpaper Notes
Image - Notes on Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper
Image - Wallpaper

Notebooks
The Notebooks / Notes
Image - Cover of Notebook
Image - Inside of Notebook
Image - Cover of Notebook
Image - Inside of Notebook
Image - Wind Tunnel Data Graph
Image - Wind Tunnel Data Graph
Small Image - Propeller Notebook Cover
Large Image - Propeller Calculation Page
Image - Index Card with Formula (1903 engine)
Image - Legend for Formula (1903 engine)
Image - Engine Calculations
Image - Engine Calculations
Image - Engine Calculation Card
Image - Piston Calculations

Drawings
1903 Flyer / small / large

The Telegram
Telegram, dated December 17, 1903

Patent Applications
Patent Figure 1
Patent Figure 2
Patent Figure 3

The 1911 Model B Flyer


Back to The Wright Brothers