Remarkable Ohio

Serpent Mound Marker
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31-55 Close Up of Photo

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Side A: Charles Furnas, 1880-1941. In 1908, West Milton native Charles Furnas worked as a machinist in Dayton doing odd jobs for the Wright Brothers, the inventors of the first practical airplane. At that time the U.S. Army had agreed to purchase an aircraft from the Wright Brothers provided it would carry a pilot and a passenger. Furnas worked with the brothers to adapt their plane. On May 14, 1908, he flew first with Wilbur and then with Orville, becoming the world's first airplane passenger. (continued on other side) Side B: Same. (continued from other side) Following the test flights in 1908, the Wright Brothers engaged Charles Furnas full time. As the first person hired to build airplanes, he was the first employee in what would become the aerospace industry. He worked with Orville and Wilbur to develop "Signal Corps No. I," America's first military aircraft and the beginning of the U.S. Air Force. He left employment with the Wright Brothers to start a garage in West Milton, but remained friends. Orville attended his funeral in 1941.