The Wright Cycle Company Complex, Dayton

4.7
#5 of 11 in Museums in Dayton
The bicycle business of the Wright brothers, the Wright Cycle Company (originally the Wright Cycle Exchange) successively occupied five different locations in Dayton, Ohio. Orville and Wilbur Wright began their bicycle repair, rental and sales business in 1892, while continuing to operate a print shop (they ended their local newspaper business in 1890). In 1896 they began manufacturing and selling bicycles of their own design, the Van Cleve and St. Claire, named after their ancestors. They invented the self-oiling hub and the innovation of machining the crankarm and pedal on the left side of the bike with left-hand threads to prevent the pedal from coming unscrewed while cycling. The brick building at 22 South Williams St., where the Wrights worked from 1895 to 1897, is the only extant building on its original foundation and in its original location that housed a Wright bicycle shop. They ran their printing shop on the second-floor. The 22 South Williams Street building is part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and the National Aviation Heritage Area.The Wrights used the profits from the Wright Cycle Company to finance their aviation experiments. In 1901 they fitted a third bicycle wheel horizontally above the front wheel of one of their St. Claire bicycles and used the apparatus as a test platform to study airfoil design. They built a six-foot wind tunnel on the second floor of their bicycle shop at 1127 West Third St., the last location of their bicycle business, and from October to December they conducted pioneering tests in the tunnel of over 200 shapes of scale-model wings.
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The Wright Cycle Company Complex Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
232 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We really enjoyed seeing all of the old bicycles on display plus lots of bicycle parts. Staff was friendly and knowledgeable. Don't be afraid to ask questions. We went late afternoon, not particularly...  more »
  • Open hours are fixed, but often closed by various circumstances. In advance, it seems better to check whether the phone is open. There is also a light-Dunbar center next to the bicycle shop, and we recommend visiting.
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  • The Wright Brothers bicycle shop was interesting to see. It’s a part of the Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP and right across the plaza from it. When you enter the visitor’s center, you can ask to take th...  more »
Google
  • Great small museum. There are tours of the cycle company throughout the day but otherwise it is closed. The visitor’s center has some excellent exhibits and my girls had a blast. Give yourself about an hour to walk through the museum in the visitor’s center. A little longer if you like to read everything. The visit to the cycle shop only takes about 20 minutes.
  • The Walking tour of 7 Hawthorne Street and 22 Williams Street is well worth your time. Huffman Prairie is also a must. Several museums are added attractions. The grave site is worthwhile time well spent. The Aviation Experience is only complete after a visit here and Kill Devil Hill in North Carolina.
  • Interesting educational place to learn about the Wright Brothers their cycle shops, experiments and about life in their time. Well preserved/recreated neighborhood look and excellent exhibits. Add this place to your Air Force Museum visit too!
  • Very interesting. Had a great time with family. The rangers we're helpful and informative. It was clean and well lit and the kids learned a lot!
  • Do visit!!! Great staff! Wonderful exhibits! I love this place!
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