Friday, May 26, 2017

The Wright Brothers-Part II

Around these parts, there are two sets of Wright Brothers. The first were Reds founders, Harry and George Wright. The others were from a little further north in Dayton, Ohio. Bicycle shop owners, Wilbur and Orville Wright, of the Gem City, also created history with their "flying machine" after the turn of the century in 1903.

While this is a baseball blog, I wanted to slip this in as an aside. Mostly for the battle between the states of Ohio and North Carolina for "ownership" of the Wright Brothers. The Wright's exploits are well documented but I thought it was funny how these two states have battled over the years to claim credit for these famous flyers.

In 1984 North Carolina started producing license plates with the phrase "First in Flight" with a silhouette of the 1903 Flyer airplane. This design commemorated the Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC with this basic theme continuing on their license plates through today.

Back in Ohio, the birthplace of the Wright brothers, they began producing plates with the phrase "Birthplace of Aviation" in 1996. This too continues to the present day which includes three of four distinct plate designs. Lunar Astronaut Neil Armstrong was from Wapakoneta Ohio and is included in this statement as well.

In 1999 the United State Treasury began producing quarters to commemorate the statehood of all 50 US States. The feud over the Wrights even spilled over into that program with both states reprising the idea on their state quarters. The back of the North Carolina quarter says "First Flight" with a rendering of that historic moment. Meanwhile the Ohio quarter says "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers" with the 1903 Flyer and Neil Armstrong shown over top of an outline of the state.

While this "battle" has gone on for over thirty years, a newcomer has joined the fray. In 2013, folks in Connecticut claim that a German immigrant named Gustave Whitehead made the true first flight in Bridgeport, Connecticut, more than two years earlier.

I haven't spent any time researching the outcome of these claims but there is one thing for sure. The Wright Brothers were born in Ohio and made their historic flight in North Carolina. It's kinda like the Christopher Columbus debate. At this stage of the game does it really matter.

1984 North Carolina license plate
1996 Ohio license plate
2010 Ohio license plate
2001 North Carolina state quarter and 2002 Ohio state quarter

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