Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room (Serial and Government Publications Division)
  Home >>Topics in Chronicling America

Topics in Chronicling America - The Wright Brothers

On December 17th 1903, the Wright Brothers’ “flying machine” lifts off for the first time in history. The journey, lasting roughly twelve seconds, happens “as easily and graceful as a bird.” Over the next three years the brilliant brothers work on their plan to conquer the sky, acquiring an official patent for their invention in 1906. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.


Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • December 17, 1903. Wright brothers achieve the first piloted, sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • January 5, 1904. Wright brothers make an announcement to the Associated Press about the success of their flights.
  • 1904-1905. Wilbur and Orville continue their experiments and make improvements to their airplane.
  • May 22, 1906. U.S. Patent Office issues patent 821,393 to the Wright Brothers for their flying machine.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] Since the term “airplane” was not yet in common use, try using other terms from the time. Try searching with any of the words flight, flying, airship, aeroplane or aeronaut.
  • Try using a specific date range to find articles about a particular event.
  • Since Wilbur and Orville were not always mentioned by first name, you can search with any of the words Wilbur or Orville and then search with Wright and brothers within 10 words of each other.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >>Topics in Chronicling America
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  December 11, 2014
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian