Orville Wright (August 19, 1871 – January 30, 1948)

In honor of what would be Orville’s 146th birthday, here are some facts about the younger Wright Brother:

  • Orville was a snazzy dresser – Orville wore well-tailored suits, wingtips, and “snappy argyle socks.”
  • Orville loved playing the mandolin. In fact, he played it so often that it drove his sister Katherine to say, “He sits around and picks that thing until I can hardly stay in the house the point of madness.”
  • 20140218_163411

    Hawthorn Hill in Oakwood, where Orville, Milton, and Katharine Wright lived. Wilbur and Orville Wright intended for it to be their joint home, but Wilbur died in 1912, before the home’s completion in 1914.

  • Novelist Tara Staley speculates that Orville may have had Asperger’s Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum disorder. In her book, Conditions are Favorable, she “connects the dots” of his life and puts together her theory.
  • Orville was so angry at his sister Katherine when she got married that he didn’t speak to her for two years. He finally relented when she contracted pneumonia. He visited her once before her death in 1929.
  • On September 17, 1908, Orville was involved in the first plane crash during a demonstration for the Army. While coasting at an altitude of 125 feet, the plane suddenly took a nosedive. Orville spent a month in the hospital, and his passenger, Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, became the first person to die in a plane crash.
  • Orville suffered his second heart attack on January 27, 1948, and died 3 days later at the age of 76.

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