The largest American aircraft manufacturer in 1918
Curtiss N°1, 1909, first plane bearing this name, a Wright-style pusher also nicknamed Gold Bug or Golden Flyer
The company known as from Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Company, Ltd
was formed in 1916 by Glenn Hammond Curtiss
which produced a wide variety of successful warplanes during the last years of the Great war but also later in the 1920, turning also to the civilian market with equal chance and merged with Wright Aeronautical in 1929 (Curtiss-Wright Corporation). At the origin, Glenn Curtiss joined scientist Dr. Alexander Graham Bell in 1907 as a founding member of the Aerial Experimental Association (AEA), first American aeronautical research and development organization, according to Bell for the "love of the art and helping each other". But two years after in 1909, it was disbanded, and Curtiss decided to capitalize in the team knowhow to create the Herring-Curtiss Company with Augustus Moore Herring, later renamed the Curtiss Aeroplane Company th next year. In 1916, the company changed again for "Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company" and moved to Hammondsport, and Bath, both in New York state while Burgess of Marblehead, Massachusetts became a subsidiary. In November 1918, the company was championed as the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, with 21,000 employees in both New York/Buffalo plants alone, and a record 10,000 aircraft, at a 100 weekly rate.
Only two prototypes of the excellent Curtiss model J (1914) were tried by the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps
Curtiss needed to expand with the first orders and both the headquarters and manufacture were relocated in Buffalo, New York, a potent transportation hub with plentiful manpower and technical expertise, and wealthy investors to grow. An engine factory, the Taylor Signal Company-General Railway Signal Company was added to the complex while another dependency was opened in Toronto, Ontario for production and training, with the creation of the first Canadian flying school in 1915. In 1917, the Wright and Curtiss suceeded at the end of a violent "patent war", to block the building of new airplanes and the U.S. government pressured the industry to create a cross-licensing organization called the Manufacturer's Aircraft Association, strongly opposed at first by the two corporations. But then, Curtiss found a juicy market with the needs of the US Navy, and started to lobby to provide both planes and training for USN pilots. 144 Model F trainer flying boat were first ordered, and while Curtiss successfully lured B. Douglas Thomas from Sopwith as designer for this second order, the Model J trainer, and later the JN-4 "Jenny", built by very large numbers. The Canadian JN-4 were nicknamed the "Canuck", and five other manufacturers were soon licenced for it ti cope with the enormous orders. Numerous JN-4s after the war formed another generation of pilots including Amelia Earhart. The model became an icon from the company, right up to the fall of the twenties.
The Curtiss 18T was championed as the "fastest plane in the world" at 163 mph (262 km/h) in August 1918 with its Curtiss K-12 water-cooled 12-cylinder vee engine, 400 hp (298 kW)
The next Curtiss HS-2L flying boat became a staple of USN anti-submarine assets in the Atlantic, operated from Nova Scotia (Canada) as well as France and Portugal. The next Curtiss F5L was co-designed by John Cyril Porte from the Royal Navy, generally similar to the Felixstowe F.3. They evolved into the NC-4, first Atlantic crosser in 1919. But these were the last government orders before many cancellations. In 1920 indeed, Glenn Curtiss retired and moved to Florida, staying as advisor on design, but the new CEO was now Clement M. Keys. After winning the prestigious Schneider Cup twice (1923,1925) and the Pulitzer Trophy Race in 1925 and both the Schneider Trophy again (by Jimmy Doolittle) the company secured media attention, but the company only suvived with ciilian models like its best-seller the Robin (1928, 769 sold). The company became the Curtiss-Wright Corporation and started in a new path and also sponsored the Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station.
The Curtiss 1918 Curtiss GS, a Navy floatplane fighter (6 prototypes)
As usual, production models are in bold, production figures are under brackets.
- Curtiss No. 1 (1909)
- Curtiss No. 2 (1909)
- Curtiss Model D (1911)
- Curtiss Model E (1911) (50?)
- Curtiss Model F (1912) (150?)
- Curtiss Model J (1914)
- Curtiss Model H (1914) (478)
- Curtiss Model K (1915) (51+ for Russia)
- Curtiss C-1 Canada (1915) (12)
- Curtiss JN-4 Jenny (1915) (6813)
- Curtiss Model L (1916) (20?)
- Curtiss Model N (1916) (560)
- Curtiss Twin JN (1916) (8)
- Curtiss Model R (1915) (290)
- Curtiss Model S (1916) prototypes (6)
- Curtiss Wanamaker Triplane (1916)
- Curtiss HS (1917) (1178)
- Curtiss GS (1918) (6)
- Curtiss HA (1918) (6)
- Curtiss JN-6H (1918) (1035)
- Curtiss 18T (1918) USN Fighter (triplane) (4)