Emil Matthew Laird (1896-1982) began experimenting with aeroplanes in 1912, at age 15. He built several one-off airplanes, then in 1920 founded the E. M. Laird company and produced a series of increasingly sophisticated single-engined biplanes, primarily for mail carrying.
Laird left the original Laird company in 1923 and started a new, similarly-named enterprise to continue building his designs. Laird’s company was purchased by the Ford Motor Company in 1928, but continued to produce airplanes identified with its own name until at least 1936.
Meanwhile, after Laird left, the original company was renamed the Swallow Airplane Company by its remaining owners. This company failed in 1927.
“Matty” Laird lived a long life and continued to be active in aviation almost to the end of it. He was a popular figure at airshows and fly-ins in the 1970s as one of the last living aviation pioneers.
Laird aircraft were never built in very large numbers and today they are one of the more highly prized antiques.