A MONTH IN THE LIFE OF THE WRIGHTS: JUNE 1909
Posted on 04 June 2020
Glenn H. Curtiss sells his Curtiss No. 1 airplane, the first commercial sale of an airplane in the United States, to Aeronautic Society of New York for $7,500. The sale sets in motion the beginning of the Wrights’ patent suit against Curtiss. Also in June 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife from Hackensack, New Jersey, becomes the first woman to drive across the U.S., in a Maxwell 30, from Manhattan to San Francisco in 59 days.
The Wright brothers conduct propeller tests in Dayton, OH, to determine the cause of the accident at Fort Myer, VA, on September 17, 1908, and to prevent a recurrence of similar problems in upcoming U.S. Army flight tests later in June and July.
JUNE 10, 1909
President Taft presents Wilbur and Orville Wright with Aero Club of America gold medals, in the East Room of the White House in the presence of nearly 1,000 people, including Aero Club of America officials, scientists, diplomats, military personnel, and high-ranking government officials. President Taft remarked: “You made this discovery by a course that we of America like to feel is distinctly American—by keeping your nose right at the job until you had accomplished what you had determined to do.”
JUNE 17, 1909
On the first day of a two-day homecoming celebration staged by Dayton to honor the Wright brothers, they attend an exhibition parade and drill by the Dayton Fire Department, attend a public reception at the YMCA, are given the key to the city of Dayton, and witness a fireworks display in which their portraits, 80-feet high and entwined with an American flag, are shown.
JUNE 18, 1909
On the second day of the celebration, Bishop Wright delivers the invocation at the ceremony in which gold medals are presented to Wilbur and Orville. Gen. James Allen, Chief Signal Officer of the Army, as the representative of President Taft, presents the Congressional Medal, Gov. Judson Harmon of Ohio presents the Ohio Medal, and Mayor Edward E. Burkhart presents the City of Dayton Medal. Following presentation of medals, the brothers view a parade of floats, including a Wright airplane, depicting development of locomotion in America.
JUNE 20–29, 1909
June 19. Wilbur and Orville leave for Washington, D.C., and arrive there June 20 to resume the trials that had been interrupted by the Fort Myer, VA, accident that took the life of Lt. Thomas Selfridge September 17, 1908.
June 24–26. The assembly of the Wright machine at Fort Myer is completed, and engine tests are conducted.
June 29. Senate adjourns to witness the flights, joined by other members of Congress, Army officers, scientists, diplomats, and members of the press. Orville makes the first of a series of preliminary flights at Fort Myer, VA, in preparation for the Army trials.