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Patent Drawing of O. and W. Wright Flying Machine, Patented May 22, 1906, by Inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright. U.S. Patent Office Receipt of Patent Application for “Flying Machines,” March 14, 1903

Self-taught aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright experimented for years to achieve the first successful manned flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December 1903. Their patent application for a flying machine was approved in May 1906. The patent drawing shows the innovative design of the plane flown at Kitty Hawk.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Patent Drawing of O. and W. Wright Flying Machine, Patented May 22, 1906, by Inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright. U.S. Patent Office Receipt of Patent Application for “Flying Machines,” March 14, 1903 Patent Drawing of O. and W. Wright Flying Machine, Patented May 22, 1906, by Inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright. U.S. Patent Office Receipt of Patent Application for “Flying Machines,” March 14, 1903

Promoting Progress

The First Congress recognized the importance of progress in science, technology and the arts for the nation’s development. To give incentive for creativity in “the useful arts,” Congress enacted laws in 1790 protecting new inventions and works by giving their creators exclusive rights to profit from them for a limited time. These laws would benefit society as a whole by encouraging the creation of new technologies and ideas.