The bicycle business of the Wright brothers, the Wright Cycle Company (originally the Wright Cycle Exchange) occupied five different locations in Dayton, Ohio. Orville and Wilbur Wright began their bicycle repair business in 1892, and soon added rentals and sales. In 1896 they began manufacturing and selling bicycles of their own design, the Van Cleve and St. Claire, named after their ancestors. They invented the self-oiling hub and the innovation of machining the crankarm and pedal on the left side of the bike with left-hand threads to prevent the pedal from coming unscrewed while cycling. They also ran a printing shop on the second-floor of their rented brick building at 22 South Williams St., Dayton, Ohio, the only extant building that housed a Wright bicycle shop on its original foundation and in its original location. The 22 South Williams Street building, where the Wrights worked from 1895 to 1897, is part of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
The Wrights used the profits from the Wright Cycle Company to finance their aviation experiments.
In 1901 they fitted a third bicycle wheel horizontally above the front wheel of one of their St. Claire bicycles and used the apparatus as a test platform to study airfoil design. From October to December that year, they conducted pioneering wind tunnel tests on the second floor of their bicycle shop at 1127 West Third St., the last location of their bicycle business.
In that building they designed and constructed their gliders and first airplane, the Wright Flyer. In 1937 the building was moved to Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan by Henry Ford with the cooperation of Orville Wright.
|Left photo: Orville and boyhood friend Ed Sines (left) at work in the shop. Right photo: Wilbur. Both photographs show the 1127 West Third Street bicycle shop in 1897.|