One of the most famous patents had part of its record lost for 36 years. Part of the patent file on the Wright Brothers’ first flying machine disappeared in 1980 when it was returned to the National Archives by the Smithsonian Museum where it had been on loan for an exhibit. It was not until 2000 that archivists discovered it missing. In March of this year the record was discovered in a cave outside of Kansas City where government records are stored.
Government officials speculate that the record was likely misfiled in 1980 and made it difficult to find. The papers, along with the rest of the patent file, will now be part of an exhibit at the National Archives starting May 20th.
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