“Creative and productive inventors and engineers quite often have an acutely developed ability to think pictorially and spatially in addition to facility in the use of verbal forms of thought,” says Smithsonian curator Peter L. Jakab in his book Visions of a Flying Machine. The Wright brothers certainly fit the bill. They documented their process of invention in writing that is clear, detailed, and sure-handed enough to be playful. “The Wrights Write” is a collection of excerpts, mostly drawn from letters, diaries, and newspaper and magazine articles.
In the most famous passage from a Wright brothers letter, Orville echoed Michelangelo’s fanciful idea that sculptures were already present in their blocks of marble, waiting for an artist to free them.
“Isn’t it astonishing,” Orville wrote, “that all these secrets have been preserved for so many years just so that we could discover them!”