Subject File: Legal Cases--Wright Co. v. Curtiss Aeroplane Co.--Photographs, 1915, undated
Heavier than Air: From first heavier-than-air manned flights, to a dawn of modern aviation.
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. With the onset of World War I, military orders rose sharply, and the company moved its headquarters and most manufacturing activities to Buffalo, New York, where there was far greater access to transportation, manpower, manufacturing expertise, and much-needed capital. In 1917, the two major aircraft patent holders, the Wright Company and the Curtiss Company had effectively blocked the building of new airplanes, which were desperately needed as the United States was entering World War I. The U.S. government, as a result of a recommendation of a committee formed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, pressured the industry to form a cross-licensing organization (in other terms a Patent pool), the Manufacturer's Aircraft Association. Curtiss was instrumental in the development of U.S. Naval Aviation by providing training for pilots and providing aircraft. The Company worked with the United States' British and Canadian allies. By the end of World War I, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company would claim to be the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, 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.