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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just How Many Wright Aviation Companies Were There?

In an attempt to get a handle on the various aviation companies using the Wright name, the following is a partial listing. Note that The Wright Company, Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, Wright Aeronautical Corporation, and finally the Curtiss-Wright Corporation can be viewed as the same company progressing through changes of name, mergers, ownership, and manufactured products. The Dayton-Wright Airplane Company was a separate company from the above.

The Wright Company- organized November 22, 1909 with Wilbur Wright as President, Orville Wright and Andrew Freedman as Co-Vice President. Wilbur died in 1912 and Orville as President sold the company October 15, 1915. Company headquarters was based in New York City, while the company factory was located in Dayton Ohio.

Rear cover ad on November 1913 issue of "Flying and The Aero Club of America Bulletin", from Orville Wright's library.
Wright Flying Field, Inc- for training of new pilots (1910-1916), the Wright Flying School was offered at multiple locations:
Montgomery, Alabama (March-May 1910)
Huffman Prairie, Dayton, Ohio
Hempstead Plains, Long Island, NY
Augusta, Georgia

The Wright Flying School, Hempstead Plains, Long Island, NY, Aerial Age Weekly, May 15, 1916

Wright Flying Field, Inc, Aerial Age Weekly, October 16, 1916 issue.

Wright Exhibition Company- March 1910- November 1911. Flight performances managed by Roy Knabenshue. Shut down by Wright Brothers due to pilot fatalities.

Eye witness account from Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet held September 3-14th, 1910. Card is dated September 10th, 1910. "Boston Aviation Field- We are watching the air ship flights outside of Boston. Two machines have gone up and we are waiting for the main event."

Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation- The Wright Company was merged with the Glen L. Martin Company in 1916 to form Wright-Martin Aircraft Corporation, location Los Angeles, California. Glen Martin left the company within a year, and the company was renamed Wright Aeronautical Corporation in 1919.

Wright-Martin, July 1, 1918 issue of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering.

Wright Aeronautical Corporation- Founded in 1919, eventually merging with Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company in 1929. The Wright Aeronautical Corporation kept its name though a part of Curtiss-Wright well into the 1940's through WWII. A publication from 1953 refers to the publisher as Wright Aeronautical Division Curtiss-Wright Corporation (Preliminary Data WTF-10 Turbofan).

Wright Aeronautical Corporation 1928 blueprint

Dayton-Wright Airplane Company- formed in April 1917 by Kettering, Deeds, and the Talbotts as Dayton Airplane Company, and then as the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company when Orville Wright was brought on as a consultant. Was purchased by GM in 1919 and closed by GM in 1923.

Dayton-Wright Airplane Company 1918 publication telling accomplishments of company.
Dayton-Wright Airplane Co., July 1, 1918 issue of Aviation Aeronautical Engineering.

Curtiss-Wright Corporation- Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company of Buffalo, NY and Wright Aeronautical Corp of Dayton, OH merged on July 5, 1929 to form Curtiss-Wright Corporation.

Companies licensed to manufacturer Wright models:

Burgess Company and Curtis Inc.- Licensed to copy Wright Brother airplanes from February 1, 1911 through January of 1914. Named shortened to Burgess Company in 1914, until company closed in 1918.

Period photograph of Burgess Wright aeroplane. Note Burgess name on the triangular blinkers.

La Compagnie Generale de Navigation Aerienne- "formed in December of 1908, to manufacture and sell Wright airplanes in the French market" per Edward Roach in "The Wright Company".

1910 advertisement for CGNA

Flugmaschine Wright-GmbH- Aeronautics, June 1909, announced formation of this company, per Wilbur & Orville Wright A Bibliography, 1968, "which acquired the Wright German patents and the rights for manufacturer of the Wright aeroplanes in Germany as well as sales rights for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Luxemburg, and Turkey." The board of directors included Orville Wright.

Short Brothers- per Edward Roach in "The Wright Company", "The Wrights....contracted with Short Brothers, a London firm, to manufacture their airplanes in Great Britain."

Recommended Resources for more information:
  • "The Wright Company" from invention to industry", by  Edward J. Roach, 2014
  • "The Dayton Flight Factory" The Wright Brothers & the Birth of Aviation by Timothy R. Gaffney, 2014.
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