Glenn Curtiss, 1910
Curtiss flying the June Bug, America's first publicly-announced flight, July 4th, 1908:
Curtiss in June Bug which he flew at 39 mph:
And the next year, 1909, he was the fastest man in the air - 47mph - at Reims.
Eight years later, Curtiss H-12 flying boat, 1917:
Five more years, Curtiss R2C-1, 241 mph, 1923:
Curtiss Jenny, WW1:
The Curtiss P-40, WW2:
GLENN H. CURTISS
Founder of The American Aviation Industry
Henry Ford, 50, visiting Glenn Curtiss, 35, Hammondsport, N.Y., 1913. "Mr. Henry Ford of Detroit - the manufacturer of the Ford car - paid us a visit. He wanted to go up but said, 'My wife won't let me.'"
Three of mankind's greatest inventions occurred in the years beginning this story: The telephone, the automobile, and the airplane - with all engulfed in momentous patent battles. The victors of two, Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford, then played crucial roles in the third, the epic fight between the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss.
In 1953, Briton Charles G. Grey (1875-1953), arguably the world's most knowledgeable person on flight's early days (founder and editor, The Aeroplane, 1911-1939; editor, Jane's All The World's Aircraft, 1916-1941), wrote (see "Letters, Documents, Exhibits"):
"Strange thing isn't it that the U.S.A. has never recognized Glenn Curtiss as by far the greatest man America (both North & South) has ever produced in Aviation? - Think of the early Hammondsport products. Then the Jenny...Then the first flight onto & off a ship. Then the first flying boats. Then the big & little Americas (of 1916-18) & their descendants, the F boats of Felixstowe, from which descend all…trans-Atlantic boats...Then the N.C. boats, first across the Atlantic, & the string of Curtiss record-breakers, & Schneider winners. And the D-12 engine, from which the Rolls Falcon, & ultimately the Merlin are descended...So far as I know there is nobody in the World who has claim to have influenced aircraft design & production as he did, or had done. But the capitalists who bought the bogus Wright patents ganged up on Curtiss & `slapped him down,' as they say in the States, & he was too proud to fight back on propaganda. He left his products to fight for him."
In the United States,
to design, manufacture and sell airplanes:
before Wright, there was Curtiss...
before Boeing...before Martin...
before Consolidated...before Douglas...
before Lockheed...before Sikorsky...
before Grumman...before Northrop...
before North American...before ConVair...
before McDonnell...before Republic...
before Vought...before Curtiss-Wright,
there was Curtiss.
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