Possible Wright Brothers' Artifact Found

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A team from East Carolina University is working to authenticate a possible Wright Brothers' artifact found in Kitty Hawk.

A crate that was shipped to "W. Wright, Elizabeth City, North Carolina” at the turn of the century looks like it became the tabletop for the Wright Brothers' kitchen table. That crate resurfaced in March in Kitty Hawk.

Dr. Larry Tise of ECU is a leading Wright Brothers authority. Tise and some of his students from ECU are working to confirm the finding.

The public can view the table on Thursday, April 24 at the Wright Brothers National Memorial site in Kill Devil Hills. The public program begins at 7 p.m. Tise and his students will discuss their research and findings on the little known secret flights of the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk in May 1908.

Tise says he was skeptical when he first heard about the possible table artifact. However, Tise says close examination has convinced him it is the same table shown in 1902 photographs.

Ron Ciarmello, an Outer Banks jeweler, is the one who brought the table to Tise's attention. Ciarmello says he got the table through a classified ad. The seller said the table had been in her family had it for about a century. It was in the family laundry room and as a utility table in a family-operated barber shop. Ciarmello in his own research found a photo with the table in it on the Library of Congress Website.

Ciarmello got in touch with Tise when he saw a second image of the table in a book Tise wrote about the Wright Brothers.

Tise says there are three things about the table that convince him that it belonged to the Wright Brothers: the legs are from a pre-existing writing table and the top is made from the sides of a shipping crate and two remnants of ash rib material used by the Wrights to build their gliders.

For more information on the Wright brothers’ life in Kitty Hawk, see the ECU website focusing on their 1908 flights at www.WorldAloft.org

More on the Wright Brothers can be found at www.digital.lib.ecu.edu/exhibits/wright/index.html