Historic winds of December

December 17, 2008

In English, it’s just one letter difference between “winds” and “wings.”  An encore post, commemorating one historic event from December 17 involving both winds and wings:

December 17, written in the wind

Wright Bros. flyer at Kittyhawk, first flight

Photo from Treasures of the Library of Congress; “First Flight” by John T. Daniels (d. 1948); this is a modern gelatin print from the glass negative.

Ten feet in altitude, 120 feet traveled, 12 seconds long. That was the first flight in a heavier-than-air machine achieved by Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio, at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.

From the Library of Congress:

On the morning of December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took turns piloting and monitoring their flying machine in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville piloted the first flight that lasted just twelve seconds. On the fourth and final flight of the day, Wilbur traveled 852 feet, remaining airborne for 57 seconds. That morning the brothers became the first people to demonstrate sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine under the complete control of the pilot.

No lost luggage, no coffee, no tea, no meal in a basket, either.

Resources on the Wright Brothers’ first flight:


Typewriter of the moment: Muckraker Upton Sinclair

December 17, 2008

Without typewriter, however.*

A journalist and novelist, labeled by President Theodore Roosevelt as a “muckraker,” Upton Sinclair. The caption to the Associated Press photo said it was Sinclair working on his first movie screenplay in 1943, part of his generally forgotten life in California. In fact, several of his works were made into movies.

Upton Sinclair, Los Angeles Times

Upton Sinclair, from the Los Angeles Times

* I had difficulty getting the images to work in this post.  Odd stuff kept popping up.  Then, as a reader Michael Todd gently noted, I discovered I’d used a picture of Sinclair Lewis in place of Upton Sinclair.

In working to correct the problem, I discovered no photos of Upton Sinclar with his typewriter.  So, here we have Upton Sinclair, without typewriter.  How embarrassing.


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