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Who invented the airplane Wright brothers or Brazilian Santos Dumont.

2 of my students who don't know each other both told me within the last month that the Wright brothers didn't invent the first airplane. They told me that it was a Brazilian named Alberto Santos-Dumont, living in Paris, who indeed flew the first plane. One of them said that everyone talks about the Wright brothers being the inventors because they are from the US and "everyone" wants the inventors to be from the US (whoever "everyone" is). So I decided to look it up on Wikipedia to see what facts are listed on there. Here is the clip about Alberto Santos-Dumont: Alberto Santos-Dumont, Brazil October 23, 1906 the "14 Bis" at Bagatelle field, Paris. Aero Club of France certified the distance of 60 meters (197 ft); height was about 2-3 meters (6-10 ft). Winner of the Archdeacon Prize for first official flight of more than 25 meters. Described by some scholars as the first "sportsman of the air". As reported in previous years and months for Ader, Whitehead, Pearse, Jatho and Vuia, the 14-Bis flew and landed without a rail, catapult, or the presence of high winds, propelled by its own (internal combustion) engine. And here is what they say about the Wright brothers: Orville & Wilbur Wright, United States December 17, 1903 First recorded controlled, powered, sustained heavier than air flight, in Wright Flyer. In the day's fourth flight, Wilbur Wright flew 279 meters (852 ft) in 59 seconds. First three flights were approximately 120, 175, and 200 ft (61 m), respectively. The Wrights laid

particular stress on fully and accurately describing all the requirements for controlled, powered flight and put them into use in an aircraft which took off from a level launching rail, with the aid of a headwind to achieve sufficient airspeed before reaching the end of the rail. The date of the Wright brothers is in fact after the date of Alberto Santos-Dumont. So what do you think? Who really invented the airplane? Can we give credit to a Brazilian for our ability to fly around the world? Posted by Pedra at 3:26 PM 56 comments:

markuza said... um- doesn't 1903 come before 1906? November 11, 2008 5:30 AM Pedra said... OK now I feel like a dumbass. I was looking at the months and not the years! But seeing this did make me wonder why folks here think that the Wright brothers didn't invent the airplane. Is it a mystery or just national pride? November 11, 2008 2:37 PM markuza said... I remember seeing a tv show a very very long time ago about several other supposed powered flights before the Wright brothers. Then again, it might have been on "In Search Of" which was never known for the quality of its journalism... Who knows? Maybe those dates were the best documented, and Santos Dumont did an undocumented flight before then. One thing I read about him that sounded really cool is that he used to fly around Paris in a blimp or something similar. He was also strongly opposed to military uses of aircraft. November 13, 2008 5:31 PM Sonia said... Every Brazilian learns that Santos Dumont is the father of aviation and then if they come to the US and hear of the Wright brothers - they get heartbroken :) I have not done any serious research to find out who was in fact the first...

November 14, 2008 1:46 PM Anonymous said... Why do Brazilians consider Alberto Santos-Dumont the first man to fly if he didn't fly until 1906 and the Wright brothers did so in 1903? - question from Rodrigo Moura Visoni "... Santos-Dumont supporters claim that even though the Wrights may have flown in 1903, theirs was not a true flight since their plane required a catapult and a steady breeze to become airborne. In comparison, the 14-bis used conventional landing gear and was able to take off from an open field in calm air." "While these claims do have some merit to them, what is often overlooked is the fact that many key details of the Wright Flyer had become public in Europe in 1904 once the Wrights had received their patent. It is generally believed that Santos-Dumont made extensive use of this information in the design of his plane and that he would not have been successful without the Wright's influence. Furthermore, even if the Wright's first flight is discounted, detractors often overlook that the pair made three more flights that same day, the longest covering 852 ft (260 m) and lasting nearly one minute. Even more impressive are the accomplishments of the Wright Flyer II in 1904. Among these was the world's first circular flight and a five minute trip covering nearly three miles (4.8 km) that occurred on 20 September 1904, two years before Santos-Dumont's first flight." "Santos-Dumont supporters go on to argue that his flight was verified by the Aero-Club De Frances, the predecessor of today's Fdration Aronautique Internationale (FAI) that is considered an objective international body for conferring aviation records. The only witnesses to the Wright brothers flights, however, were typically close friends and family. On the other hand, it should be noted that the Aero-Club was a much different group in 1906 than it is today. Not only was the Club in a feud with the Wrights because of the brother's perceived secretiveness and lack of cooperation, but several of its members were directly involved in and providing funding for the work of Santos-Dumont. Given this inherent conflict of interest, the partiality of the Aero-Club is still debated to this day. Regardless, no one can deny that Alberto Santos-Dumont made major steps in advancing the design of the aircraft, and his achievements are still highly regarded by aviation historians." - answer by Joe Yoon, 15 August 2004

Americans are never going to convince Brazilians and vice versa. :-) November 21, 2008 5:18 AM

Anonymous said... With all of this information, I'd have to go with Dumont. I guess it depends on which criteria one looks at. When it comes to the "first" true flight without the aid of any outside factors such as catapults or wind, Dumond takes it, even if it came later. March 4, 2009 4:57 PM Clay said... The brazilian, Santos Dumont. The wright brothers were in fact the first idiots to launch themselves of a railed platform into heavy wind. But then again if i tied a trash bag over my head and catapulted myself into a hurricane i might get more flight time then they did.. It is unargued that the wright brothers "design" of the airplane was most likely used by Santos Dumont when constructing his airplame. However if you take notice the entire design is totally different including all of its systems and operation, the only similarities are that of the two wooden things with clothing which at the time they called wings. Santos Dumont's invention could take off with clear skys in a open field with no outside assistance or external factor. Therefore the first technical TRUE flight was Santos Dumont and technically the father of aviation. March 24, 2009 5:13 PM Anonymous said... None of them two invented the airplane..there were many other "inventors" before them..but Santos Dumont was very more important than Wright brothers..If I had a catapult I'd fly too!! May 30, 2009 12:08 PM luluozone2009 said... The story of the Wright brothers as the investors of the airplane is one of those big lies in history. It is just another attempt by Americans to claim everything for themselves. Santos Dumont's airplane took off by itself; it did not need a catapult. The Wright brothers invented a glider. If there is any nationalism, it is on the part of Americans who have distorted history to make it American history. October 23, 2009 3:23 PM

gustavo said... Im with Brazil , the wight brothers did a catapult to make the plane fly , Santos dumont made the plane fly by his self ,so he did better making the plane fly by his self :D With a catapult i can fly too ;) October 29, 2009 9:46 AM Anonymous said... Im with Brazil , the wight brothers did a catapult to make the plane fly , Santos dumont made the plane fly by his self ,so he did better making the plane fly by his self :D With a catapult i can fly too ;) October 29, 2009 9:46 AM Tom said... I know this is an older post, but I had to comment anyway. I'm an American but I lived in Brazil from 1999 to 2001 and this debate has always intrigued me. I couldn't understand why it was such a heated debate. In the years since then, though, I think I have put my finger on it. I think the issue for the Brazilians is that they just don't want to lose this particular debate to an American. If it was any other country on the planet the debate would not be as heated. What if it was another French guy vs. Santo-Dumont? Or a German? I think the debate would remain, but at a nice even smolder rather than a raging inferno. This inferno produces all these off-shoot debates like definition of an airplane, but in all practicality it doesn't matter anymore. Due to the innovation of these pioneers (and hundreds of others who contributed but never got their names in history books--neither Santo-Dumont nor the Wright Brothers could have done it alone!) we now have the wonder of modern aviation. I love Brazil and it's people and one of the things I love about them is their intense patriotism, but this is one issue that needs to be let go. November 19, 2009 2:42 AM Jake said... Whats wrong with the catapult, either way they both needed thrust and got it and flew. The wright brothers flew for 5 minutes and 3 miles. Thats a pretty long flight. Who cares how they got up there, they still got up. No one can dispute the fact that they flew.

December 15, 2009 5:50 PM Henrique said... Jake, that is called "gliding". Many men paraglided before 1900, are they the real fathers of aviation? February 2, 2010 9:44 PM Josh luckes said... Neither would! In 1903 the Wright brothers succeeded in planar 3 meters using a catapult for only 60 meters, was not an airplane, something was launched by catapult that could glide like a paper airplane. In 1906 Santos Dumont adapted an engine on a model glider and managed to fly 6 meters off the ground for 200 meters without aid of any catapults, wind, etc. .. merits But Henri Coanda in 1901, created the first aircraft capable of soaring to 30 feet off the ground and did a fly by almost 1 km. And in 1910 Henri Coanda creates the first jet in history. The merits of the wright brothers went patented the idea around 1903 before creating and putting into practice, since the purpose was to sell and profit from your invention or another, where the plane faithfully copied from Henri Coanda, when, and only in 1908 finally led to the publico first flew the brothers Wirght ... The Wright brothers were the forgers capital at that time, they only merits Santos Dumont and Henri Coanda, where today 99% of the invention these two are used in commercial aircraft ... You can not believe everything posing as truth in history, see for example the story of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla ... February 6, 2010 8:12 AM Anonymous said... Jet airplanes take off from aircraft carriers by means of a catapult. Therefore by this logic, they should not be considered airplanes. February 7, 2010 6:32 AM Anonymous said... In 1903 the Wrights used an engine. 14 HP. They flew for 59 seconds. One year later they flew in a circle for 5 minutes. Then in 1905, in the flyer III Wilbur was airborne for 39 minutes covering 24 miles. Wilbur had to land due to his lack of

fuel. All before Dumont lifted off. In 1908 they also made the first 2 person flight. Like many inventors, they owe a debt to those who came before them, but indisputably they flew the first (second, and third!) powered winged aircraft. February 27, 2010 2:10 PM Feeluk Nizzo ( felixpedro555@hotmail.com ) said... The Wright Brothers didn't invented the airplane in 1903, but in 1909. They said that they flew ALONE with NO ONE close, for the first time at 1902, but they only tells the "truth" at 1909. and the "Airplane" invented by the brothers just flew with a CATAPULT help, and 14-bis flight by impulse of velocity in the floor (just like the actually ones). Wright brothers invented bicycle :B Alberto Santos Dummont: the father of the aviation! March 31, 2010 8:35 PM Feeluk Nizzo ( felixpedro555@hotmail.com ) said... Sorry for my VERY BAD english at ast post. I really couldn't write that. You know; hard phrases! Look: i just came to say that i hate that who lives in EUA are americans. American thinks that they are ALL ameica. It is completely idiot. I'll never say "AMERICANOS" again, but "ESTADOUNIDENSES"... "Estadounidenses" is somethig like Unitadestatellians (of course that, in portuguese, this word is officially okay, but people STILL WANT TO SAY "AMERICANS"!) March 31, 2010 8:48 PM Evan said... Obs para Feeluk Nizzo: O povo dos EUA sao chamados "Americanos" nao por causa do Continente "Amrica Do Norte", mas porque moram no Pas chamado "Estados Unidos Das Americas" O pas das "Americas" nao o pas dos "Estados". O Senhor tem muito orgulho ao falar tantas besteiras, e na verdade, suas palavras sao uma porcaria e uma vergonha para nosso pas. Moramos no Continente Amrica do Sul, mas somos chamados de Brasileiros, pois moramos no Pas do Brasil. Nosso apelido como um povo vem do Pas e nao do Continente. Se arrependa e deixe de ser orgulhoso. April 30, 2010 7:21 AM

Markus said... I'm with Santos because 14-bis was selfpropelled. The Wrights started to use the catapult on September 1904 with the Flyer II, but before that they needed strong headwinds in order to take-off and ONE MORE IMPORTANT THING that everybody are forgetting;the Wrights were using a central rail suitably positioned and secured on the ground to determine the line from which the aircraft should lift off. Use of a centrally placed skid MUST REQUIERE the aircraft to be supported by men at the wingtips to keep it level until the moving aircraft was under the control of the pilot. Photographs show men at the wingtips running alongside until they were no longer required to support the aircraft in level flight. Take a look of two short hops of a 1903 "flyer I" replica and you can see men supporting the wingtips http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1mscspl-VU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg46QLzO3b0 you can see also the pothograph of the Orville Wright first flight on 17 december 1903, Wilbur Wright was at the right wingtip http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/top10/wright-flyer.jpg When they started to use the catapult they didn't need men. They used the catapult until november 1908 with the Flyer "Model A", but this machine used a 35 HP engine, more than two times the power of the 15 HP engine of the Flyer II. They Also added New propellers with larger blades and better performace on oct 3 1908.You can check their diary. May 30, 2010 1:53 PM Joey said... I am with the Wright Brothers. The main argument in favor of Santos-Dumont is that "The Wright brothers didn't fly, they glided". Well when you look at the etymological roots of the word airplane you will see that the original word 'aeroplane' can be broken down as follows:"Aero"+ "plane". Aero is Greek for air and Planer is french for "to glide". Therefore any machine or object that "glides through the air" is an airplane! I am American and have lived in Brazil four times. This is a very proud country, and are very jealous of the United States in particular. Get over it! June 28, 2010 3:17 PM Henrique said... Joey you went too literally into the concept. The airplane today is a self-propelled vehicle, not a "glider". It's ok that the WB glided before Dumont, but Dumont brought the AIRPLANE concept to reality as it is today. Get over it!

June 28, 2010 5:36 PM Paul-Henri said... Is this a joke??? The WB were on a freaking track with a catapult!!! And they still want to claim that as the first flight? Santos Dumont Flew with no outside help, he didnt need a lot of wind of a track or a freaking CATAPULT! Oh my my, even this crap now... Im from France and we learn hw Santos made the first flight, and got to hear this crap now with catapult and a crap load of wind lolol June 29, 2010 4:57 AM Ethanol said... I'm Brazilian and American so luck :) I love both countries santos dumond house is in petropolis rio de janeiro I visit his house it's so small and is open for visitors Santos dumond was a very superstitious all the steps of stair were designed to first step with the right foot ;) also Besides the air plan Santos dumond invented also the Pulse watch in patnership with his friend Louis Cartier We have already so many great things invented by USA. Let's give the credit of the first airplane to the Brazilian Santos Dumond July 3, 2010 4:11 PM Anderson said... There's no such thing as who invented the airplane, they both were pionneers of aviation. even Da Vinci had done some draws of an airplane design July 26, 2010 4:19 PM scnunes said... actually da vinci made sketches of helicopters. July 26, 2010 5:40 PM Anonymous said... santos dumont com certeza o pai da aviaao. usa superem isso!!!! September 13, 2010 7:10 AM

Anonymous said... U.S.A is stupid!! September 13, 2010 7:15 AM Joo Ricardo said... Someone mentioned the jets that take of from ships. They use catapults because there's not enough room to take off from the ship. When they're on lando, they can take off by their own. It's very different from a glider. Someone said "who cares if they used a catapult", well modern aviantion does, since it would't exist if we still had to lauch every plane with catapults and loads of winds so that we could fly from one place to another. The invention of a plane that could get on air buy it's one is what made possible to invent the airplanes we know today. December 1, 2010 5:33 AM Wagner said... Well people I think that this post was really good to clarify a pretty old discussion. Santos Dumont was a great man, a man ahead of his time, he was a inventor and has done much more than just the first flight without any kind of external help. Dumont was totally against the use of airplanes as weapons, and people say that after seeing the way that the humanity was using the planes he committed suicide. The biggest problem that i see is that television programs, when talking about airplanes and the history of it, never show both sides of the history. It's not fault of the people of the United States, the thing is that every time they hear about the airplane invention they hear about WB, that they have done it by themselves. The history is actually made on the present!!! I'm Brazilian and have been in the US a few times and lived in the UK and I see that a lot of people see Brazil just as a beautiful place to visit, with awesome beaches and a place with pretty women, well it's all true but you guys can be sure that we are much more than that (and it is good to see that this view of Brazil is changing, now a days we can see many people with a much better notion about Brazil and about the World!!!). That is all I have to say. December 23, 2010 7:27 AM

stefan said... actually it was Traian Vuia, in february 23rd 1903 who made the first flight. the reason why didn't hear so much about him is that at his first flight, the french academy didn't send a representative as they felt it was utterly impossible and completely fiction that a machine heavier than the air could get airborne January 20, 2011 8:38 PM Anonymous said... In the documented flights of the wright brothers (before santos dumont), did they fly? Yes. Did their plane have a motor that propelled it through the air? Yes. Most reasonable, objective people (without patriotic biases) will conclude that the wright brothers were the first in flight based on these definitions. May 2, 2011 4:48 PM Anonymous said... (continued) Now, regarding the comments about the WB's plane being merely a "glider." The arguments posted here is that the WB's plane was only a glider as it required a catapult...well, news to all of you, gliders today can self-propel themselves into the air...does this make them airplanes? No! A catapult mechanism is not the defining attribute between a glider and an airplane. May 2, 2011 4:50 PM Anonymous said... (continued) Now, arguments are arguments, but the facts are that the wright brothers flew the first motorized, self-propelled (through the air) plane, and they even patented their invention years before Dumont. Brazilians will continue to believe what they believe because they are easily deceived (agreed to by many brazilian friends)...in fact, many brazilians still believe that if you eat mangos with milk you will die. May 2, 2011 4:55 PM Henrique said...

/\ The very definition of airplane is a vehicle that presents self-sustained take-off, flight, and landing; something that also uses wings to provide its lift-force. The Wright Brothers' did not achieve this, and is considered a mere glider. Anyway, which glider you have seen that is self-propelled, young padawan? And about the mango with milk crap, it is a simple superstition created by landlords to prevent slaves from eating mangos and milk provenient from the farm (which is, of course, counterproductive), during COLONIAL era. Every society has someone who still believes otherwise unbelievable stuff, so you can't generalize while dealing with brazilians. The fact is: Santos Dumont still invented a fully functional AIRPLANE while the Wright Brothers were boasting of their little glider. May 3, 2011 12:17 AM Anonymous said... 1903... This motorized vehicle that flies through the air, what do you call it? 1904.... This motorized vehicle that flies by propelling itself through the air, what do you call it? 1905 ....This vehicle with a motorized propeller and wings that is flying through the air for many miles propelling itself through the air..higher and higher..around in circles....what do you call it? A car roles, a boat sails, but this other motorized vehicle which propels itself through the air and remains in the air due to its motorized propeller and the 'lift' forces which it has created...what do you call this vehicle? 1903...1904....1905 (And, no a glyder cannot do this.) May 11, 2011 9:24 PM Bersch said... Only americans think the Wright brothers invented the airplane, ask anywhere else in the world and the answer you'll hear is Santos Dumont! May 17, 2011 9:42 PM Anonymous said...

I am sure Alberto Santos Dumont was the first person to fly an airplane americans are always trying to take credit for something they did not do but this time history reveals itself. I am from Brazil I was born there wnt to school there and I learned that Santos Dumont was the first person to fly the airplane. Brazilians take all the credit on this one. June 6, 2011 10:39 AM Anonymous said... I am a brasilian Ive studied aviation history. Ive traveled around the world and discovered that only in Brasil people think that Santos Dumont invented the airplane. This is ancient history, problably boosted by the former military goverment. The sad is that we lack national heros and identity in this mediocre country, and instead of improving our capacity we create ones. It is childish to insist in Santos Dumont and brasilians should read more. They think that te catapult used by Whright brothers (a linear acceleration device) was some kind of medieval Trebuchet. June 23, 2011 2:37 PM 1 said... Tell me one thing guys, when you see an modern airplane going up in the air, you see an catapult behind him? Wright's did a real flight in 1903, but Dummond also did it in 1901 in a "flying machine". But the point here is who invented the "airplane" right? Airplane means a flying machine taht can comes up in the air with hes own power. or im wrong? June 27, 2011 9:36 PM 1 said... This comment has been removed by the author. June 27, 2011 9:36 PM Anonymous said... The Wright brothers invented their flying machine in 1903, but in 1906, a Brazilian living in France and going by the name Alberto Santos-Dumont, successfully flew a proper fixed wing airplane. There are many historians who answer the question of 'who invented the airplane' with Dumont's name, as they believed that the Wright brothers simply created a model that utilized the gliding principles already in place. June 27, 2011 9:45 PM Anonymous said...

The wrights documented flying in 1903 but they did not feel comfortable showing an audience until 1908. But in 1903 all they have is 1 bad picture and a few eye witnesses, and the plane crashed right after which to me is not a controlled fly. Alberto Santos Dumont started testing since 1901. He had designs of airplanes and helicopters even before 1901. And he was comfortable with his invention to show a big crowd and the world by 1906. And he did not crash, he landed safely. The reason lots of people think it was the Wrights is because they got a patent first on the idea and they could sue anyone who tried to compete, in fact they did sue at least one person for sure that I know of. Now if they could prove so well that they invented first than why get a patent? Because they knew others around the world and even in the US were ahead of them. So yes they documented and got a patent first but that was it. July 21, 2011 11:20 AM Anonymous said... How about a little research to get to the truth? I encourage you to read Paul Hoffmans Book Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1636730.Wings_of_Madness). You should know more about Alberto Santos Dumont and the controversial surrounding the airplane fathership. The fact is that Dumont invented the first plane that could fly by itself (without any external help) and break air resistance, even being heavier then it. The event was very well documented in film, photos and French aviation authorities were there to testify this. The Wright brothers flight was secret. Besides, their first flight just happened with the help of a catapult device (did not fly by itself) and some say that only 5 witnesses viewed it. The event had no film or even photographic evidence (the picture that exists is from 1909), and more important, NOBODY ever made a replica of their plane that could fly (although they TRIED)! How can anyone believe it? This seems more a matter of faith then scientific evidence. Anyone can register an invention patent, but without proof this means nothing. I can register the invention of a teleportation machine, but if I dont show it and prove my invention, this patent will be as valuable as a 3 dollar bill note. Santos Dumont plane was replicated more than once and it CAN fly. His plane Demoiselle is what resembles more to modern planes. So, saying that Wright brothers 1903 plane as the first to break air resistance is a joke. Dumonts plane was the first that really did it. The major evidence about American ignorance is that there almost nobody even knows about his existence, despite the great importance of Dumont for aviation history. August 27, 2011 7:05 PM Anonymous said...

One of the best essays about the controversy: http://www.airshowfan.com/firstairplane.htm August 27, 2011 8:01 PM Anonymous said... Please just read that ok!? But read it! http://www.cbpf.br/Publicacoes/SantosDumontINGLES.pdf It's a small book explaining all that mess, done by the Brazilian Center for Physics Research-CBPF/MCT. Cheers October 3, 2011 2:09 PM Xing said... Of course, Santos Dumont invented the airplane, because his machine was heavier than the air. Wright brothers just did something predictable. I m proud of my fellow contryman ALBERTO SANTOS DUMONT. Brasil has developed the most useful airplanes with less money than the other imperialist nations. EMBRAER power November 2, 2011 5:27 PM Xing said... Of course, Santos Dumont invented the airplane, because his machine was heavier than the air. Wright brothers just did something predictable. I m proud of my fellow contryman ALBERTO SANTOS DUMONT. Brasil has developed the most useful airplanes with less money than the other imperialist nations. EMBRAER power November 2, 2011 5:28 PM Xing said... Of course, Santos Dumont invented the airplane, because his machine was heavier than the air. Wright brothers just did something predictable. I m proud of my fellow contryman ALBERTO SANTOS DUMONT. Brasil has developed the most useful airplanes with less money than the other

imperialist nations. EMBRAER power November 2, 2011 5:28 PM Xing said... Of course, Santos Dumont invented the airplane, because his machine was heavier than the air. Wright brothers just did something predictable. I m proud of my fellow contryman ALBERTO SANTOS DUMONT. Brasil has developed the most useful airplanes with less money than the other imperialist nations. EMBRAER power November 2, 2011 5:28 PM Xing said... Of course, Santos Dumont invented the airplane, because his machine was heavier than the air. Wright brothers just did something predictable. I m proud of my fellow contryman ALBERTO SANTOS DUMONT. Brasil has developed the most useful airplanes with less money than the other imperialist nations. EMBRAER power November 2, 2011 5:29 PM GPVD said... Call me old fashioned - but since everyone here says the WB's flew in a glider while SD flew a plane - can't we just agree that the glider is a plane - and that SD's plane was a vast improvement on the WB's contraption. Without the wagon idea, there would not have been a car. The oxen were the engine... etc etc etc. December 18, 2011 4:09 AM Henriks said... you ARE being old fashioned. It's like saying thomas edson is only partially creditable for inventing the light bulb cuz someone invented candles before. WB didn't even invent the glider, that had already been done. A glider is not a plane.. and SB had the breakthrough. How can it be simpler? December 18, 2011 7:15 PM HeartAce said...

Actually, it's very well known to technology historians that at least 22 different inventors had invented working light bulbs before Thomas Edison. Edison's contribution was the first reliable and commercially successful light bulb with a system for powering it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incandescent_light_bulb To put both the Wright Brothers and Santos-Dumont into perspective, just take a look at the long list of glider/airplane inventors who made progress before them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_aviation_-_19th_century The point is, most great inventions were the products of many different inventors contributing ideas over many years. Both Wright Brothers and Santos-Dumont deserve some credit, as do many others. No single person invented the airplane by himself. January 3, 2012 2:30 AM Hugo V. Guerra said... My great, great, great, great grandfather invented the car in the late 1700s. Let me explain you what happened: First they put the "car" in a rail. I know what you are going to say but the rail was only to make the car stable through the speed up process, ok? Then, they were pulled by 20 budwiser horses for about a minute. After that they were released and voila! The car was born. He drove for about 20 minutes downhill(was he NOT suppose to take advance of the terrain?) but had an engine; I swear! There were about 23 witnesses! First was my grandpa, my granny, their servant and the 20 horses! Nobody knew this till now but if you look somewhere in some patten office, you will see their designs and everything! Cortesy of www.beewaspremoval.com www.wallpaperremovalsydney.com link