Following in Lilienthal's footsteps, efforts to invent an airplane became commonplace in the 1890's. The majority of the efforts were in Europe, but in the U.S., Octave Chanute and Samuel Pierpont Langley made prominent attempts.
Orville Wright and Wilbur Wright are the brothers credited with the first airplane powered by an engine. The brothers requested a patent for a "flying machine" nine months before their successful flight in December of 1903. The brother's were adamant about photographing every prototype and test of their various flying machines; therefore, when it came time for one of their machines to actually work, it was caught on camera. After several test tries, Orville and Wilbur sent a telegram to their father, instructing him to "inform [the] press."
The Wrights brother's success story came so suddenly that their contemporaries could not believe the Wrights had done what they had claimed. After all, prominent scientists and engineers all over the world had been trying to do exactly what the Wright brothers did with absolutely no success.