The Wright Cycle Company Complex, Dayton

4.7
#5 of 11 in Museums in Dayton
Specialty Museum · Museum
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
252 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I enjoyed the visit and the movie in the museum. The tour of the bike shop was fun too, but didnt have very many actual Wright brothers artifacts, but it was good to see.  more »
  • This place and town is a must for all aviation lovers. The staff was incredible nice. We had our young kids and they enjoyed it also  more »
  • If you are interested in the history and origins of aviation the your journey should begin here! This is the starting point on the Aviation Trail chronicling the early work of the Wright Bros.  more »
Google
  • Great history of the Wright brothers invention of first in flight. There bicycle shop where it all began is so interesting. I really enjoyed seeing some of the original equipment they used to create parts in there bicycle shop and Museum.
  • Very interesting presentation. So much of our history to see! In the early years, people had to take out a loan to buy a bike! Men not women. Heidi was very knowledgeable and friendly.
  • There is a museum and one of the original bicycle shops of the famous American Wright brothers. The bicycle shop itself is only open to free guided tours at the top of every hour run by the national park service. The museum which is next to it is filled mostly with pictorial exhibits and not that many artifacts. If you are in Dayton for a few days then this would be worth a visit but lower on the list of things worth seeing. If you are interested in the Wright brothers it is suggested you spent your time to see the Wright III flyer just south of this location by 10 minutes drive.
  • Very well done National Parks museum and tour. If you are in the area it is worth a stop. If you have kids, they can earn two Junior Ranger badges at this park.
  • Great piece of American history. It is unfortunate that Henry Ford moved the bicycle shop where the plane was developed to Michigan. Interesting but small.

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