Case Files: Orville Wright (Franklin Medal)

Case File Catalog Summary

Aviation pioneer Orville Wright was recognized by The Franklin Institute in 1933 with a Franklin Medal for the "valuable investigations carried out by him and his brother, Wilbur.  From which, they obtained the first reliable scientific data concerning the principles of flight and the design of aeroplanes, upon which data they constructed the first heavier than air machine which flew by its own power under human control." Wilbur Wright had died in 1912.

Orville Wright instructed that, upon his death, The Franklin Institute should receive his collection of airfoils and devices, as it was the first scientific organization to give the Wright brothers credit and ranking for achieving sustained powered flight. Today, The Franklin Institute Science Museum has the largest collection of artifacts from the Wright brothers' workshop. Efforts are underway to provide online access to the entire collection.

The Orville Wright presentation was made possible by support from The Barra Foundation and Unisys.

Read the Committee on Science and the Arts Report on Orville Wright’s life and the committee’s recommendation for The Franklin Medal.

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