A MONTH IN THE LIFE OF THE WRIGHTS: AUGUST 1900
Posted on 05 August 2020
The Wright brothers fly their first manned glider at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to test their control system. It does not produce enough lift to make more than a handful of flights.
In the bigger global picture, Pablo Picasso begins to show his paintings, Sigmund Freud writes The Interpretation of Dreams, and Max Planck formulates quantum theory. The US Navy commissions its first submarine, the USS Holland.
AUGUST 10, 1900
Wilbur Wright writes to Octave Chanute telling of plans to construct a full-size glider and enlisting his aid in obtaining necessary materials unavailable in Dayton, Ohio.“Dear Sir: It is my intention to begin shortly the construction of a full size glider. Hitherto I have used pine in the frames but for the large machine I wish to us spruce, a wood not obtainable in Dayton yards. It would oblige me greatly if you would give me the name of a Chicago firm of whom I could get the timber I need. Also I would be glad to have your advice as to a suitable varnish for the cover. I have been using shellac. Yours truly, Wilbur Wright”Octave Chanute was an American civil engineer and aviation pioneer. He provided many budding enthusiasts, including the Wright brothers, with help and advice, and helped to publicize their flying experiments. At his death he was hailed as the father of aviation and the heavier-than-air flying machine.
AUGUST 16, 1900
Joseph J. Dosher, in charge of the Kitty Hawk Weather Bureau Station, supplies data on prevailing winds and on nature of the region in a response to Wilbur’s letter of August 3.
Dosher said they had a beach a mile wide without trees or other obstructions. The winds in the autumn blew from the north or northeast. Boarding was available in the village, but they would have to bring tents for lodging. Dosher passed the letter to Captain William Tate, the local notary, county commissioner, former postmaster, and the only “banker” in Kitty Hawk who had been to high school.
The US Coast Guard Lifesaving Station at Kitty Hawk, NC doubled as the U.S. Department of Agriculture Weather Station.
AUGUST 18, 1900
William J. Tate, writes the Wright brothers recommending Kitty Hawk as a suitable place to conduct experiments in “scientific kite flying.”
Tate’s warm response to Wilbur: "I will take pleasure in doing all I can for your convenience & success & pleasure," wrote Tate, "& I assure you [that] you will find a hospitable people when you come among us.”
William J. Tate and his family in front of the Kitty Hawk Post Office 1900.