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Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company, Ltd
Type Public
Founded January 1916
Headquarters Buffalo, New York
Number of locations 3
Key people Glenn H. Curtiss
founder & president
Industry manufacturing
Products airplanes
Revenue US$1,566 million
Employees 21,000 (1916)

Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was an American aircraft manufacturer that went public in 1916 with Glenn Hammond Curtiss as president.



Glenn Curtiss had helped found the Aerial Experimental Association in 1907 and he created the first US aircraft company, Herring-Curtiss Company with Augustus Moore Herring on 20 March 1909,[1] which was renamed the Curtiss Aeroplane Company in 1910.[2]

The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was created 13 January 1916 from the Curtiss Aeroplane Company of Hammondsport, New York and Curtiss Motor Company of Bath, New York. Burgess Company of Marblehead, Massachusetts, became a subsidiary in February 1916[3].

Curtiss military plane being tested in College Park, Maryland circa 1912

Curtiss started US Naval Aviation by training pilots and providing aircraft. The first major order was for 144 various subtypes of the Model F trainer flying boat.[1] In 1914 Curtiss lured B. Douglas Thomas from Sopwith to design the Model J trainer, which lead to the JN-4.[1] With the onset of World War I, military orders rose sharply, and Curtiss needed to expand quickly. In 1916 the company moved its headquarters and most manufacturing activities to Buffalo, New York, where there was far greater access to transportation, manpower, manufacturing, and much needed capital. It became the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world during World War I, employing 18,000 in Buffalo and 3,000 in Hammondsport, New York. Curtiss produced 10,000 aircraft during that war, and more than 100 in a single week.

It is particularly famous for the Curtiss JN4 two-seat biplane. Curtiss worked with the British and Canadian Allies. JN 4s were built in Canada, and many were used as trainers in England. The Curtiss flying boat the HS-2L was used extensively in the war for anti-submarine patrols. Bases were built in Nova Scotia, France and Portugal for the purpose. The Royal Navy and Curtiss worked together to make flying boats - both used the experience to produce a line of products, this culminated with the NC-4, the first airplane to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, in 1919.

On July 5, 1929, Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company became part of Curtiss-Wright Corporation, together with 11 other Wright and Curtiss affiliated companies.

During World War II, as a division of Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Curtiss manufactured over 29,000 aircraft, including 3,000 Curtiss C-46 Commando transport aircraft for the US Army Air Corps/Force, almost 14,000 P-40 fighters, made famous by their use by Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers in China, and later in the war, over 7,000 SB2C Helldivers.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Gunston 1993, p. 87.
  2. ^ Bell 2002, p. 87.
  3. ^ Mondey and Taylor 2000, p. 197.
  • Bell, Dana, ed. "Directory of Airplanes, their Designers and Manufacturers." Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2002. ISBN 1-85367-490-7.
  • Bowers, Peter M. Curtiss Aircraft 1907-1947. London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1979. ISBN 0-370-10029-8.
  • Gunston, Bill. World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1993. ISBN 1-55750-939-5.
  • Mondey, David, ed., revised and updated by Michael Taylor. The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Greenwich Editions, 2000. ISBN 0-86288-268-0.
  • Sobel, Robert. The Age of Giant Corporations: A Microeconomic History of American Business, 1914–1970. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972. ISBN 0-83716-404-4.

External links

Preceded by
Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company
Succeeded by
Curtiss-Wright Corporation


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