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Wright Company Records

Identifier: MS-471

Scope and Content

The Wright Company was formed by the Wright Brothers in November 1909. In 1915, Orville sold the company to a group of investors, which later merged the company with the Martin Aircraft Company becoming the Wright-Martin Aircraft Company. The records consist of copies of material from the Wright Company Records held by the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. The records are arranged in one series and organized into major concentration areas including: board of directors meeting minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, legal documents, and financial ledgers. There is no information on personnel who worked for the Wright Company.

The first major concentration area in Board of Directors meeting minutes, including a portion of the Wright Company by-laws. The records primarily document meetings held from 1909 to 1912 and 1915 when the company was sold. The second major concentration is correspondence. Much of the correspondence pertains to the Wright Exhibition Team and its director, Roy Knabenshue. The third concentration is newspaper clippings. Most of the clippings pertain to Orville's selling of the company and the later merger with the Martin Aircraft Company. The fourth concentration is legal documents, which includes the Certificate of Incorporation, the documents selling the Wright Company in 1915, and the Wright-Martin Aircraft Company merger documents of 1916. Finally, the last concentration of materials includes a copy of a financial ledger. The ledger documents a variety of financial transactions made by the company from 1909 to 1915.


  • 1905-1917


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. The Museum of Flight Research Center, 9303 East Marginal Way South, Seattle, WA 98108, houses the original materials.

History of Wright Company

The Wright Company was founded in November 1909 with the financial backing of New York investors who were interested in backing the fledgling aviation industry. In January 1910, the Wright Company set up a factory in Dayton, Ohio, and established a flying field and flight school at Huffman Prairie. The Wright Company rented factory space from the Speedwell Motor Car Company in Dayton, from January 1910 until the Wright Company factory at 2701 Home Road in Dayton was completed in Nov 1910.

The brothers hired Roy Knabenshue, an experienced balloon and airship pilot, to manage an exhibition flying team. Although the Wrights were not eager to enter the "mountebank business," as they referred to stunt flying and exhibitions, they recognized that an exhibition team would add to their income. The Wright exhibition team first performed at Indianapolis, Indiana, in June 1910. It stayed in business until November 1911, when the deaths of several team members prompted the Wrights to discontinue it. The Flight School the Wright brothers taught ran at Huffman Prairie from 1910-1911. Orville Wright and Charlie Taylor, their longtime mechanic, also set up a flying school in Montgomery, Alabama, from January to May of 1910, where Maxwell Air Force Base would later be located.

The summer of 1910 the Wright Company introduced what would become their most popular aircraft-the Wright Model B, which was produced from 1910-1914. Orville sold the Wright Company in 1915.


0.6 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Wright Company was formed in November 1909 with Wilbur Wright as President and Orville Wright one of two Vice-Presidents. In 1915, Orville sold the company to a group of investors, which later merged the company with the Martin Company. The records consist of copies of material from the Wright Company Records held by the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Included in the records are Wright Company board of directors meeting minutes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and legal documents, including articles of incorporation, selling of the company, and the merger with the Martin Company. Also included are copies of ledgers that document a variety of financial transactions. The records do not include any information concerning Wright Company personnel.

Statement of Arrangement

The Wright Company Record is arranged in one series by format.

Other Finding Aid

A complete box and folder inventory for the collection is available on the Special Collections and Archives web site at

Acquisition Information

The records in this collection are a copy of the original records held by the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA. The copies were made in January 2004 by a staff member of Special Collections and Archives.

Related Material

MS-1, Wright Brothers Collection

MS-398, Wright Company Glass Plate Negatives

Wright Company Records, Museum of Flight Research Center, Seattle, WA 98108

MSS46706, Wilbur Wright and Orville Wright Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by John Armstrong in May, 2013.


Guide to the Wright Company Records (MS-471)
Finding aid prepared by John Armstrong, May 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA