Watched the show on History channel tonight entitled "Wright Challenge". It
showed the making of a couple of replica Wright flyers. One was done using
the same method originally done. They showed sand casting as well as many
other metal related techniques. It will be on again Dec 17th, which is the
100th anniversary of the historic first powered flight.
I recommend it.
One of the scenes shown in connection with the Dayton group project showed Mr.
Howard DuFour lending some advice on the proper material for the sparking
points inside the cylinders. He was properly introduced as an expert on the
Wright engines and has written a book about Charlie Taylor, who built the first
engine in just six weeks. Howard did extensive research into the means and
methods of the engine construction, and has actually built a 1/3 scale model of
the engine. The book is entitled:
"Charles E. Taylor, 1868-1956, The Wright Brothers Mechanician"
The book may be ordered from Campbell Tools Company of Springfield, Ohio.
price is $29.95 plus shipping in soft back. The hard back edition is
temporarily sold out.
As pointed out by the author, Taylor used a lathe, steel rule, and calipers as
his only tools. The lathe did not have power feed in any direction, and he did
not even have vernier calipers for measuring. Current project workers find the
accompliushment hard to match, both from construction time and performance. I
strongly recommend this book to home shop machinists who think they must settle
for poor quality because they lack the most modern (and expensive) machine
A complete Wright engine -- I believe it is #2 -- is on display at the
Engineers Club in Dayton, where it may be seen without appointment or admission
fee. Take a vacation to Dayton and travel the Aviation Trail to visit the
Wrights' neighborhood, Carilon Park where an early Wright plane is on display,
the Huffman Prairie flying field, and above all, The USAF Museum.