Print trivia: First it was Wilbur and Orville, printers and publishers

Nov 24, 2020 at 09:23 pm by Staff

Pioneering flight wasn't the first formal collaboration for brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, who had a business as printers and wannabe publishers.

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, although currently closed, tells the story of the aviation pioneers' first foray into printing, with a small business they began in the mid-1880s.

Among mastheads they worked together on were a school newspaper called The Midget, the West Side News - which later became the Evening Item - and the Dayton Tattler. They also produced church pamphlets and catalogues of bicycle parts.

Ed Sines, who is credited with having done "most of the day-to-day work" left in 1899, after which the Wrights sold the business. The museum has a copy of The Midget and pictures of Sines in the printing office in 1897.

The museum notes that Milton Wright had an office in the United Brethren's printing establishment, to which his boys had frequent access. Orville took up printing as a "serious hobby" shortly after the family returned to Dayton in 1884, and four years later, with Wilbur's assistance, Orville designed and built a "larger, more professional" press capable of bigger jobs.

"It marked the first time their historic moniker, 'the Wright brothers', appeared in print," the museum says.

Thanks to ImPressions Worldwide for the link, taken from their newsletter quiz.


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