Before the Wright brothers were famous for the first controlled flight, they were in the bicycle business. Their history with bicycles started when Wilbur bought a high wheeled ordinary velocipede in the early 1880s. In 1892 Orville bought a Columbia safety bike made by Pope, which was similar to the Rover by James Starley. In 1892 they opened a bicycle repair shop in Dayton, where they also rented bicycles, and sold accessories.
In 1896 they began manufacturing bicycles, offering the Van Cleve and St. Clair models. In their best year, 1897, they made $1500 each in times when $500 per year was a good income in the U.S. They introduced several innovations, including sealed bearings, and bicycle pedals that were left or right threaded so that pedaling tended to tighten the pedals rather than loosen them. This technology is still in use today on bicycles.