Pratt & Whitney

In 1925, the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Co. was registered in Delaware. From the very beginning, it was a company dedicated to the proposition of decentralized procurement.

From 1919 to 1924 Frederick Rentschler managed the Wight plant at Patterson, New Jersey. He found himself at loggerheads with the directors on commitment to R&D funding.

In the summer of 1924, Rentschler resigned as president of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation in New Brunswick.

With the encouragement of the US Navy, Rentschler sought new financial backers and early in 1925 contacted Pratt $& Whitney in Harford.

A passionate advocate of the minority view that the future of the airplane lay in bigger craft, higher speed and greater ranges involving more powerful engines, Rentschler proposed to Pratt & Whitney that it move into the production of air-cooled radial engines – a step sought by the Navy’s Rear Admiral W. A Moffett.

The Pratt & Whitney was co-founded in 1860 by a cousin of Eli Whitney as a machine tool company. Pratt & Whitney had boomed during World War I, but was anxious for a new revenue source. Rentschler outlined a plan to set up a company within a company, using Pratt & Whitney’s long established name with its worldwide reputation for precision machinery.

Rentschler should assemble his team and the Pratt & Whitney would provide capital and work space. He proposed borrowing a million dollars from Pratt & Whitney’s owners (in return for giving them 50 percent of the stock in the new Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company) and using Pratt’s underutilized plant space and tools to make his new engine. Rentschler’s first engine was the famous Wasp, first assembled on Christmas Eve, 1925.

 On May 5, 1926, the US Navy made its first flight test of air-cooled radial Wasp engine. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft shipped 260 Wasps in 1927; by 1929, the number shipped rose to 1656.
Pratt & Whitney
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Reuters: Business News