Posted on 08 January 2021

Lorin Wright, brother of Wilbur and Orville Wright, seated holding his children, Horace, Ivonette, and Leontine.


Lorin Wright, older brother of Wilbur and Orville Wright and president of Miami Wood Specialty Company, dies in Dayton, Ohio at age 77.

Lorin Wright, born in 1862, spent some time on the Kansas frontier, then attended Hartville College, IN, for a year in 1882. He found work as a bookkeeper for a carpet store in Dayton, OH, and courted Ivonette Stokes. Lorin and Ivonette married in 1892 and had four children—Milton, Ivonette, Leontine, and Horace. In 1893, he went to work for Wilbur and Orville Wright in their print shop, and in 1900 helped Katharine manage the Wright Cycle company while their brothers were in Kitty Hawk, NC. He also started his own “street sprinkling” business to help make some extra money. (Before 1900, there were less than 12 miles of paved streets in Dayton and street sprinkling was necessary to keep the dust down in dry weather.) He visited Wilbur and Orville at Kitty Hawk in 1902 where he took photos of their gliding experiments, then notified the press in 1903 after their first powered flights. When Wilbur and Orville needed a large space for propeller tests or to assemble large airframes, Lorin loaned them his carriage barn at his home on West Second Street which was almost directly behind their bicycle shop on West Third. In 1911, Lorin and his son Horace traveled with Orville to Kitty Hawk with a new glider. There he helped his brother set the world’s first soaring record where Orville Wright stayed aloft for almost ten minutes. Two years later, he helped Orville test the first airplane autopilot, a device which won the Collier Trophy for aeronautics. In 1914, he spied on Glenn Curtiss in Hammondsport, NY, as Curtiss was testing the 1903 Langley Aerodrome. Curtiss had lost a patent suit the Wrights had brought against him and he flew the old Aerodrome in an attempt to get around the patent by proving that another airplane could have flown before the Wright Flyer.  After Orville sold the Wright Company, Lorin bought an interest in Miami Wood Specialties—the company manufactured toys, including one called Flips and Flops that Orville had designed. He also became a city commissioner in Dayton. And the great-grandfather to Stephen Wright and Amanda Wright Lane, advisors to The Wright Brothers Family Foundation, and the closest living relatives to the Wright brothers.

Flips and Flops, the toy invented by Orville Wright for Miami Wood Specialties.

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