December 17, 1884 – Fighting Oilfield Fires with Civil War Tech
December 17, 1903 – Natural gas fuels Wright Workshop
Wilbur and Orville Wright’s historic 59-second flight into aviation history at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, in 1903 was powered a homemade engine burning 50 octane gasoline. The brothers’ “mechanician” Charlie Taylor fabricated a 150-pound, 13-horsepower engine in their Dayton, Ohio, workshop. “We didn’t make any drawings,” Taylor later recalled.
What is little known, however, is that the Wright brothers used Ohio natural gas to power their workshop – way ahead of their time in many ways. A “one lunger” (single cylinder) three-horsepower natural gas engine drove the overhead shaft and belts that turned a lathe, drill press – and a rudimentary wind tunnel.