Thomas Edison was not the first engineer to build a working light bulb, and the Wright brothers were not the first aviators to fly an aircraft. But like Edison, they took an abstract idea and made it practical.
Edison came up with a carbon filament that made bulbs shine reliably for days. Orville and Wilbur Wright completed the first self-powered flight and invented the airplane. Their achievement was so momentous that, in 1939, FDR chose to celebrate August 19, Orville Wright’s birthday, as National Aviation Day.
The innovative legacy of the Wrights and Edison now resonates inside a single company. GE, established by Edison, built the first American jet engine. Today, GE makes the most powerful jet engines from futuristic materials, designs technologies that make flying cheaper and more efficient, and helps planes land at some of the most forbidding airports.