Luzern Custer

QUESTION:  Who was Luzern Custer's Latin Tutor?
A)  Crassus
B)  Katherine Wright
C)  Wilbur Wright
D)  Orville Wright

The American Treasure Tour blog has talked about Luzern Custer before. He was a pretty amazing guy who we celebrate not only for having developed the Custer Chair we proudly display in our collection, but also because of his contributions to the burgeoning aviation industry during its early years.  Later in life, he created rides for amusement parks.  Born in 1888, Custer grew up in a family of innovators. His father, Levitt Ellsworth Custer, was a dentist/balloonist.  In fact, dad invented the first electric oven used to anneal (heat to toughen) gold crowns for fillings.  The senior Custer also inspired his son's love of ballooning as an afficionado himself, going up in the air numerous times.  Luzern followed in dad's footsteps and took to the air. Recognizing how difficult it was to register elevation changes while in the air, he created the Bubble Statoscope, which was so effective the U.S. military commissioned a number of them for their own use.  Then, of course, Custer developed his motorized wheelchair.  First inspired to assist the elderly get around, the chair proved of great benefit to wounded veterans after World War I.

The photograph we are honoring this week finds Luzern Custer third from the left, the only man smiling. Perhaps he is smiling because of pride in his accomplishments to date (he was 36 at the time of the photograph), or maybe because he was surrounded by men he admired.  To Custer's right stands the elder statesman of air travel by 1924 - Orville Wright.  Custer grew up going to the Wright's bicycle shop.  He would have been fifteen years old when the Wrights made their first successful flight in Kittyhawk, North Carolina, and most certainly witnessed some of their early experiments. He contributed some innovations to Wright's later advances in flight technology, too.  As a balloonist with patents under his belt in the business, he definitely participated in the aviation industry from its early days.


ANSWER:  B)  Katherine Wright, Orville and Wilbur's sister.