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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index W > Orville Wright Quotes

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Orville Wright
(19 Aug 1871 - 30 Jan 1948)

American inventor and aviator.



No quotes by this name.

Quotes by others about Orville Wright (6)

In honoring the Wright Brothers, it is customary and proper to recognize their contribution to scientific progress. But I believe it is equally important to emphasize the qualities in their pioneering life and the character in man that such a life produced. The Wright Brothers balanced sucess with modesty, science with simplicity. At Kitty Hawk their intellects and senses worked in mutual support. They represented man in balance, and from that balance came wings to lift a world.
Speech, quoted in Leonard Mosley, Lindbergh (2000), 347. In 1949, Lindbergh gave a speech when he received the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.
Science quotes on:  |  Balance (43)  |  Biography (227)  |  Character (82)  |  Contribution (49)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Life (917)  |  Man (345)  |  Modesty (9)  |  Pioneer (23)  |  Progress (317)  |  Represent (27)  |  Science (1699)  |  Scientific Progress (12)  |  Sense (240)  |  Simplicity (126)  |  Success (202)  |  Support (63)  |  Wing (36)  |  Wilbur Wright (9)

The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the clown.
In Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science (1980), 34.
Science quotes on:  |  Christopher Columbus (13)  |  Robert Fulton (7)  |  Genius (186)  |  Implication (14)  |  Laughter (22)

Progress may have been all right once, but it went on too long;
I think progress began to retrogress when Wilbur and Orville started tinkering around in Dayton and at Kitty Hawk, because I believe that two Wrights made a wrong.
From poem 'Come, Come, Kerouac! My Generation is Beater Than Yours', in magazine New Yorker (4 Apr 1959).
Science quotes on:  |  Kitty Hawk (2)  |  Progress (317)  |  Tinkering (2)  |  Wilbur Wright (9)  |  Wrong (116)

The gentleman [Mr. Taber] from New York says [agricultural research] is all foolish. Yes; it was foolish when Burbank was experimenting with wild cactus. It was foolish when the Wright boys went down to Kitty Hawk and had a contraption there that they were going to fly like birds. It was foolish when Robert Fulton tried to put a boiler into a sail boat and steam it up the Hudson. It was foolish when one of my ancestors thought the world was round and discovered this country so that the gentleman from New York could become a Congressman. (Laughter.) ... Do not seek to stop progress; do not seek to put the hand of politics on these scientific men who are doing a great work. As the gentleman from Texas points out, it is not the discharge of these particular employees that is at stake, it is all the work of investigation, of research, of experimentation that has been going on for years that will be stopped and lost.
Speaking (28 Dec 1932) as a member of the 72nd Congress, early in the Great Depression, in opposition to an attempt to eliminate a small amount from the agricultural appropriation bill. As quoted in 'Mayor-Elect La Guardia on Research', Science (1933), New Series, 78, No. 2031, 511.
Science quotes on:  |  Agriculture (62)  |  Ancestor (35)  |  Bird (96)  |  Boat (13)  |  Boiler (6)  |  Cactus (3)  |  Christopher Columbus (13)  |  Contraption (2)  |  Employee (3)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Flight (45)  |  Foolishness (8)  |  Robert Fulton (7)  |  Government (85)  |  Hand (103)  |  Investigation (123)  |  Kitty Hawk (2)  |  Loss (62)  |  Men Of Science (97)  |  New York (14)  |  Politics (77)  |  Progress (317)  |  Research (517)  |  Researcher (17)  |  Scientific Progress (12)  |  Stop (56)  |  Technology (199)  |  Wilbur Wright (9)  |  Year (214)

Seldom has there occurred a more pitifully tragic disaster than the sudden fall of the Wright aeroplane, involving the death of that promising young officer Lieut. Thomas Selfridge, and inflicting shocking injuries on the talented inventor, Orville Wright. But although the accident is deplorable, it should not be allowed to discredit the art of aeroplane navigation. If it emphasizes the risks, there is nothing in the mishap to shake our faith in the principles upon which the Wright brothers built their machine, and achieved such brilliant success.
Magazine
In Scientific American (Sep 1908). As cited in '50, 100 & 150 Years Ago', Scientific American (Sep 2008), 299, No. 3, 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Accident (54)  |  Achievement (128)  |  Allowing (2)  |  Art (205)  |  Brilliance (8)  |  Brother (16)  |  Building (51)  |  Crash (8)  |  Death (270)  |  Deplorable (2)  |  Disaster (36)  |  Discredit (7)  |  Emphasis (14)  |  Faith (131)  |  Fall (89)  |  Inflicting (2)  |  Injury (14)  |  Inventor (49)  |  Machine (133)  |  Mishap (2)  |  Navigation (12)  |  Officer (6)  |  Pitiful (2)  |  Principle (228)  |  Risk (29)  |  Shake (19)  |  Shocking (3)  |  Success (202)  |  Talent (49)  |  Tragedy (19)

Samuel Pierpoint Langley, … one of the most distinguished scientists in the United States … evidently believed that a full sized airplane could be built and flown largely from theory alone. This resulted in two successive disastrous plunges into the Potomac River, the second of which almost drowned his pilot. This experience contrasts with that of two bicycle mechanics Orville and Wilbur Wright who designed, built and flew the first successful airplane. But they did this after hundreds of experiments extending over a number of years.
In article Total Quality: Its Origins and its Future (1995), published at the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement.
Science quotes on:  |  Airplane (32)  |  Alone (61)  |  Bicycle (8)  |  Build (80)  |  Contrast (16)  |  Design (92)  |  Disastrous (3)  |  Distinguished (6)  |  Drown (9)  |  Experience (268)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Fly (65)  |  Samuel Pierpont Langley (3)  |  Largely (12)  |  Mechanic (13)  |  Pilot (10)  |  Plunge (7)  |  Regarded (2)  |  Result (250)  |  Scientist (447)  |  Success (202)  |  Theory (582)  |  United States (31)


See also:
  • 19 Aug - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Wright's birth.
  • To Conquer the Air : The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight, by James Tobin. - book suggestion.
  • Booklist for Wright Brothers History.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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