A recently discovered letter from the Wright Cycling Co. reveals West Virginia-grown spruce was likely used to build frames for the Wright brothers' first flying machines.

The typewritten letter dated March 5, 1904, says Wright Cycling in Dayton, Ohio, was searching for 500 feet of "the finest possible" spruce, free of knots with straight grain because suitable lumber was not available locally.

Check stubs housed at Wright State University Libraries indicate the Wright brothers later purchased $45 worth of lumber from the West Virginia Spruce Lumber Company in Cass, W.Va.

Wright brothers' biographer and Smithsonian aeronautics curator Tom Crouch says there's no question the spruce was used in building the crash-plagued Wright Flyer II and the brothers' first practical airplane, Wright Flyer III.