Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was an American aircraft manufacturer that went public in 1916 with Glenn Hammond Curtiss as president. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the company was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States. After Curtiss left the company, it became part of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was created on January 13, 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.

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.

In 1914 Curtiss lured B. Douglas Thomas from Sopwith to design the Model J trainer, which led to the JN-4.

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. An ancillary operation was begun in Toronto, Ontario that was involved in both production and training, setting up the first flying school in Canada in 1915.

The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company worked with the United States' British and Canadian Allies. JN-4s were built in Canada, and many were used as trainers in England.  In order to complete the large military orders for the Curtiss Jenny two-seat biplane trainer, production shifted to as many as five other manufacturers.

The Curtiss HS-2L flying boat was used extensively in the war for anti-submarine patrols. Bases were built in Nova Scotia, Canada, France and Portugal for the purpose. The Royal Navy and Curtiss worked together to design flying boats; this culminated with the NC-4, the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, in 1919. The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company 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.

Peace brought cancellation of wartime contracts. In September 1920, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company underwent a financial reorganization and Glenn Curtiss cashed out his stock in the company for $32 million and retired to Florida.  He continued as a director of the company but served only as an advisor on design. Clement M. Keys gained control of the company and it later became the nucleus of a large group of aviation companies.

Curtiss seaplanes won the Schneider Cup in two consecutive races, those of 1923 and 1925. The 1923 race was won by U.S. Navy Lieutenant David Rittenhouse flying a Curtiss C.R.3 to 177.266 miles per hour (285.282 km/h).

Piloted by US Army Lt. Cyrus K. Bettis, a Curtiss R3C won the Pulitzer Trophy Race on October 12, 1925, at a speed of 248.9 miles per hour (400.6 km/h). Thirteen days later, Jimmy Doolittle won the Schneider in the same aircraft fitted with floats. Doolittle finished first with a top speed of 232.573 miles per hour (374.290 km/h).

Curtiss-Wright came into existence on July 5, 1929, the result of a merger of 12 companies associated with Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company of Buffalo, New York, and Wright Aeronautical of Dayton, Ohio, and was headquartered in Buffalo, New York. With $75 million in capital, it was the largest aviation company in the country.

There were three main divisions: the Curtiss-Wright Airplane Division, which manufactured airframes; the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, which produced aeronautical engines; and the Curtiss-Wright Propeller Division, which manufactured propellers. After 1929, most engines produced by the new company were known as Wrights, while most aircraft were given the Curtiss name, with a few exceptions.

Throughout the 1930s, Curtiss-Wright designed and built aircraft for military, commercial, and private markets. But it was the Wright engine division and the longstanding relationship with the US military that would help the company through the difficult years of the Great Depression. In 1937, the company developed the P-36 fighter aircraft, resulting in the largest peacetime aircraft order ever given by the Army Air Corps. Curtiss-Wright also sold the P-36 abroad, where they were used in the early days of World War II.

During World War II, Curtiss-Wright produced 142,840 aircraft engines, 146,468 electric propellers and 29,269 airplanes. During this period, it became the second largest company in the United States, employed 180,000 workers, and had an annual revenue surpassing $1 billion for two consecutive years (behind only General Motors).

Aircraft production included almost 14,000 P-40 fighters, made famous by their use by Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers in China, over 3,000 C-46 Commando transport aircraft, and later in the war, over 7,000 SB2C Helldivers. Its most visible success came with the P-40, variously known as the Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, and Warhawk, which were built between 1940 and 1944 at the main production facility in Buffalo, New York. Along with the Buffalo plant, major aircraft production was at Columbus, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and Louisville, Kentucky. Engine and propeller production was at plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

In May 1942, the U.S. government assigned Curtiss-Wright a defense production factory for wartime aircraft construction at Louisville, Kentucky, to produce the C-76 Caravan cargo plane, which was constructed mostly of wood, a non-priority war material. However, after difficulties with the C-76 (including a crash of a production model in mid-1943), as well as the realization that sufficient quantities of aluminum aircraft alloys would be available for war production, plans for large-scale C-76 production were rejected.  The Louisville plant was converted to C-46 Commando production, eventually delivering 438 Commandos to supplement the roughly 2,500 C-46s produced at Buffalo. The C-46 cargo plane was fitted with two powerful radial engines, and could carry more cargo at higher altitudes than any other Allied aircraft. Consequently, it was used extensively in the China-Burma-India Theater.

The Curtiss-Wright Corporation was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States at the end of World War II, but has evolved to largely become a component manufacturer, specializing in actuators, aircraft controls, valves, and metal treatment.


  • Curtiss A-1 Triad
  • Curtiss Model D
  • Curtiss Model E
  • Curtiss Model F
  • Curtiss H-1, 2, 4, 8, 12 & 16
  • Curtiss Model J
  • Curtiss Model K
  • Curtiss Model L
  • Curtiss Model N
  • Curtiss JN
  • Curtiss Twin JN
  • Curtiss Model R
  • Curtiss Model S
  • Curtiss Model T
  • Curtiss HS
  • Curtiss NC
  • Curtiss 18T
  • Curtiss HA
  • Curtiss Oriole
  • Curtiss MF
  • Curtiss Eagle
  • Curtiss PN-1
  • Curtiss CR
  • Curtiss CT-1
  • Curtiss TS-1
  • Curtiss CS
  • Curtiss R2C
  • Curtiss PW-8
  • Curtiss Hawk
  • Curtiss Hawk II / P-6 Hawk
  • Curtiss Falcon
  • Curtiss Carrier Pigeon
  • Curtiss Lark
  • Curtiss R3C
  • Curtiss F6C Hawk
  • Curtiss F7C Seahawk
  • Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk
  • Curtiss Fledgling
  • Curtiss C-1 Robin
  • Curtiss B-2 Condor
  • Curtiss Tanager
  • Curtiss Kingbird
  • Curtiss Thrush
  • Curtiss O-52 Owl
  • Curtiss Bleeker SX-5-1 Helicopter
  • Curtiss-Wright Junior
  • Curtiss T-32 Condor II
  • Travel Air 6000
  • Travel Air 4000
  • Curtiss AT-9
  • Curtiss P-36 Hawk
  • Curtiss P-40 Warhawk/Tomahawk/Kittyhawk
  • Curtiss XP-53
  • Curtiss P-60
  • Curtiss XP-62
  • Curtiss XP-71
  • Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
  • Curtiss SOC Seagull
  • Curtiss SO3C Seamew
  • Curtiss SC Seahawk
  • Curtiss XF14C
  • Curtiss XF15C
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-5
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-12
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-15
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-19
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-20 / C-46 Commando
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-21
  • Curtiss-Wright CW-22
  • Curtiss-Wright BFC Goshawk
  • Curtiss-Wright C-76 Caravan
  • Curtiss-Wright X-19
  • Curtiss-Wright XF-87 Blackhawk
  • Curtiss-Wright XP-55 Ascender

Source: Wikipedia