Inventing Airplanes Orville and Wilbur Wright are credited with building the first airplane, but they weren't the first to fly one before an audience. A rival inventor named Glenn Curtiss holds that claim to fame, and a number of other aviation-related firsts. While the Wrights kept much of their work secret, Curtiss had a much more open approach to his process of invention. And he was the target of lawsuits by the Wright brothers. NPR's Dan Charles reports the story of the Wright-Curtiss rivalry reflects an ongoing debate on whether patents actually encourage or obstruct progress and innovation.
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Inventing Airplanes

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Inventing Airplanes

Inventing Airplanes

Inventing Airplanes

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1150613/150613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Orville and Wilbur Wright are credited with building the first airplane, but they weren't the first to fly one before an audience. A rival inventor named Glenn Curtiss holds that claim to fame, and a number of other aviation-related firsts. While the Wrights kept much of their work secret, Curtiss had a much more open approach to his process of invention. And he was the target of lawsuits by the Wright brothers. NPR's Dan Charles reports the story of the Wright-Curtiss rivalry reflects an ongoing debate on whether patents actually encourage or obstruct progress and innovation.