Curtiss Aeroplane Co. and Curtiss-Wright Corp.

Glenn Hammond Curtiss (1878-1930), one of America’s first and most brilliant aviation pioneers, established his first company, the Curtiss Aeroplane Company, in 1916, having already experimented with airplanes since 1908 as part of the Aerial Experiment Association, and having built engines for others’ airplanes even before that.  Curtiss’ company primarily manufactured the JN-4 Jenny, and in the 1920s built flying boats and established itself as the premier provider of fighters for both the Army and Navy.  Throughout this and later periods, Curtiss’ own engines were one of the keys to its success.  In 1929, Curtiss merged with the Wright Company to form the Curtiss-Wright Corp.  Curtiss by then had left the company and would soon die, but Curtiss-Wright continued to build in strength, especially in fighters, throughout the 1930s.  Unfortunately, during the 1940s Curtiss grew conservative in its design philosophy and was involved in several scandals involving defective parts and other irregularities.  It never produced a fighter to succeed its P-40, which was obsolescent when World War II started; its C-46 transport was not favored relative to the Douglas C-47; and its SB2C Helldiver was trouble-plagued in almost every way.  Failing to produce any viable jet-powered aircraft, Curtiss-Wright shut down its airplane division in 1948, selling the remaining assets to North American Aviation.  Curtiss-Wright still exists as an electronics and avionics company in the defense sector.

Model D

A-1 Triad


JN Jenny



R3C Racers



CW-1 Junior

Hawk biplanes

F9C Sparrowhawk


O-52 Owl

AT-9 Jeep

P-36 and Hawk 75


C-46 Commando

SB2C Helldiver