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Flight of Fancy?

Shortly after their historic first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December, 1903, the Wright brothers patriotically offered their plane (Flyer) to the United States Army. The result? The army was so skeptical of the brothers' claims that they refused to see a flight demonstration until 1908.

By 1909, the army was using Wright brothers machinery for military use.

[The army was, perhaps, understandably skeptical of Flyer: Its wings were made of wood and reinforced with wire, and the propellers were connected to the engine with "sprockets and bicycle chains." Indeed, the Smithsonian Institution and Scientific American magazine were also skeptical. When the Smithsonian refused to acknowledge the plane's historical significance, the Wright brothers sent Flyer to the London Science Museum, where it remained on display until the Smithsonian admitted its mistake. And Scientific American? When the magazine rejected A. I. Root's account of the flight, he had it published in another journal: Gleanings of Bee Culture.]

[In 1903, the year that saw the Wright brothers fly at Kitty Hawk, it took twelve minutes for a message to be cabled around the globe.]

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