Hello, this is Rakshitha! I’m a junior ambassador of the Minnesota Cohort. I will be going into 9th grade at Edina High School this fall.
Think about airplanes for a moment. Weren’t the Wright brothers the first people to cross your mind? The Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, are credited for making the first ever successful powered airplane in 1903. But unfortunately, when people think about the Wright family they only think about the two brothers. What most people don’t know is that there was a third sibling behind these masterminds.This not popularly known sibling is Katharine Wright. Katharine Wright was born in 1874 in Dayton, Ohio. Without her, the Wright brothers would not have been such a success.
At the age of 15, Katharine Wright’s mother died due to tuberculosis. All of the household responsibilities were then passed to her. She carefully took care of her family and did all of the tasks that their mother would have done. Through these obstacles she was still able to study at Oberlin College and become the first person in her family to attend college. Before designing their powered aircraft, her brothers, Orville and Wilbur, established a print shop which published some noticeable magazines. They also started a bike shop in which they produced their own bikes. Through this bike field both the brothers developed an interest in aeronautics and eventually created their famous airplane. Throughout this process Katharine provided support and motivation. But after their creation goes worldwide is when she really starts to play a substantial role in her brothers’ success.
While her brothers are negotiating abroad, the bike shop is left unattended and so are the bills. Katharine Wright already had a very high education especially for a female at that time so she was able to take care of it all. This may not seem like a big deal, right? However, it was actually very crucial that the two brothers received the income from the bike shop. Inventing and innovating an aircraft was very expensive at the time and it is still today. The Wright brothers spent all of their money and time on their aircraft. So, the income from the bike shop was how they obtained daily necessities. Ultimately, without their sister the Wright brothers would not have been able to make their airplane.
Soon after the Wright brothers had signed many contracts for different countries and organizations. But they still intended to expand their business so they traveled to France. At the time, France showed a very secure interest in aircraft. While the brothers were away, the family had earned fame. This caused tons of processes to be completed in the Wright Company. This was also all managed by Katharine. She spoke to the press, ran business inquiries, managed deal offers, and many other things. Without her, the Wright Company would have been a huge mess full of papers and reporters.
Katherine Wright also played an important role in her brothers’ success when her brothers were testing their aircraft. The Wright brothers had sealed a contract with the U.S. Signal Corps and went to test their aircraft with them. During these tests, Orville was caught in a plane crash and broke his leg and some ribs, and suffered some back damage. Katherine quit her job just for this and went to care for her brother in Virginia. The U.S. Signal Corps did not appreciate this crash but Katharine was able to convince them to extend the contract by one year. Later, her brothers saw her great skills and appointed her as their personal advisor. She helped close many offers and people started seeing her as the secret “brain” behind the operation. In conclusion, the Wright brothers invented something very useful, but they wouldn’t have been able to do this without the endless help from their sister.
Rakshitha Malli Meganathan