Woodcut of a bicycle that the Wright Brothers used to advertise their bicycle shop. Courtesy Charlotte and August Brunsman
Their First Love:
The Wright Brothers and Printing
Wilbur and Orville had three careers. Three
years before they opened their first bicycle shop and six
years before their active interest in flying, they wrote,
edited, published, and printed 52 editions of a four-page
weekly newspaper, and 78 editions of a four-page, five-column
daily. They also filled hundreds of orders for printing jobs,
including books with up to 115 pages.
If it had not been for the work of August and
Charlotte Brunsman, the world might remain unaware of the great
printing legacy the Wright brothers left to the Dayton community
and to global audiences. The Brunsmans worked tirelessly to uncover
the hidden history of Wilbur and Orville Wright's printing
The Wright brothers learned about printing from their
father, who edited a religious newspaper. As boys they created
their own engraving tools and woodcuts, which they used to print
small items. They also built their own printing press, which could
handle large jobs, printing 1,000 tracts of a church publication.
When the brothers were older, they printed and published local
newspapers and periodicals. They also printed the
a newspaper published by the renown poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
Even when they became involved with the Wright Cycle Company, they
advertised it in a weekly magazine they printed.
Twenty-seven years after the brothers made history
with their airplane, and eighteen years after Wilbur's death,
Orville Wright designed and built a printing press for the Miami
Wood Specialty Company. He continued to stay interested in
Documentation includes a text report; publications by
the Brunsmans; photographs, including some of woodcuts, engravings,
and of Wright brothers' publications; and oral recollections on
text and nine audio cassettes.
Originally submitted by: Tony P. Hall, Representative (3rd District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.