and Wilber Wright made the world's first powered
heavier-than-air flight on 17 December 1903 and sold the first
military aircraft to the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1909. Wright
& Co. was formed in 1909.
The Wright's focus on defending their patents
helped rivals overtake their technical expertise. To make up
lost time, Wright
merged with Martin in 1916 to form Wright-Martin
Co. It was not a happy merger and Glen Martin resigned in
1917. The company changed its name to Wright Aeronautical
The main result of the merger was to redirected Wright's focus.
Martin's license to build Hispano-Suiza engines led to engines
replacing aircraft as
the company's main product.
In 1923, the U.S. Navy decided to stop buying
Hispano-Suizas and Wright acquired Lawrence Aero-Engine in order to
develop their J-1 radial engine. This engine became the Whirlwind.
Wright's president, chief engineer and chief
designer left in 1924 to form Pratt &
Curtiss-Wright was formed in 1929 when
Wright merged with Curtiss. The
engine divisions of Curtiss and Wright were merged in 1931.
The success of Wright's excellent R-3350 led to
its late entry in turbojet development. The company purchased
licenses to produce the Armstrong
Siddeley Sapphire and Bristol Olympus. Major redesign
projects delayed the Wright versions' introduction allowing the Pratt
& Whitney J57/JT3 to steal the market.
Both Curtiss aircraft and Wright engines declined
rapidly in the early 1950s and were effectively out of the airframe
and aircraft engine business by the end of the decade.