The Real First Flight?

In 1890, a man by the name of Clement Ader, attempted to fly. The linked article gives an overview of his efforts, as well as the history of Ader's life and what inspired him to create a plane in the first place. The above illustration is the patent for the plane that Ader designed and attempted to fly. There is really no proof that his plane actually made it into the air, but there are rumors of people seeing it fly. 

Compare the above patent illustration to the current airplane patent that is below. (It is from The differences are abundant! Imagine if there were still plane designs that looked similar to the one above from around 1890. Also, pay attention to how different the designs actually are. The above picture is similar to the style of a bat, while the below picture, although featuring wings, is obviously much larger and does not run off of a steam engine, nor does it look similar to a bat. Lastly, look at how much clearer the illustration below is! This is a great example of the evolution of patents and technology over time.