The Reverend Burrell Cannon read the book of Ezekiel. He decided that the Bible had the perfect blueprint for a flying machine. He took his inspiration from the "wheel within a wheel" passage.
He designed the Ezekiel Airship in a moment of inspiration.
In 1902, a year before the Wright Brothers flew, he actually got the contraption off the ground. History does not remember the Ezekiel Airship, because the flight was thought insufficiently "controlled" to really qualify as air flight, as opposed to basic "contraption flailing around" flight.
But I personally place a great deal of faith in visionaries who build unlikely constructs, which thrash around, sometimes leaving the Earth.