Earlier Air Craft
Before the Wright brothers airplane even took off, many others had attempted flight using simpler machines. For example, the first recorded evidence of man made flying objects was in 200 BC in China, when a general constructed and built a kite to fly over enemy territory to calculate the length of a tunnel needed to enter the area. The 17th and 18th centuries lead to the making of hydrogen ballons for flight after the new interest in gases and matter lead to the discovery of lighter-than-air gases. In 1852, Henri Giffard invented a controllable ballon, that flew with lift provided by the ballon and thrust/control provided by a small steam engine. Many others followed suit, building different variations of controllable ballons, though most of the time they came out extremely frail and dangerous to fly or pilot. The first interest in heavier-than-air flight came in around the 1800's, with the first published paper based on the subject being penned in 1716, by Emanuel Swedenborg. Interest was lax at first, but steadily grew until the Wright brothers flew their heavier-than-air craft and interest skyrocketed, leading to the explosion of modern aeronautics.