Pratt & Whittney Aircraft Company : A Story of Innovation and Preparation for World War II

by Allison M. Brown Poach

Institution: Central Connecticut State University
Department: Department of History
Year: 2015
Keywords: Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company – History.; World War, 1939-1945 – Connecticut – History.
Record ID: 2061474
Full text PDF: http://content.library.ccsu.edu/u?/ccsutheses,2069


Recognizing the impending danger posed by German and Japanese forces at the outset of World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put forth his famous 1940 call for 50,000 airplanes in a single year. Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, formed in 1925, was well positioned to meet that call. Due to a combination of well planned development practices and a forward thinking mentality, the company ultimately supplied roughly half of America's horsepower throughout the war in variations of their mighty Wasp and Hornet engines. The seemingly insurmountable task of war production was made possible because Pratt & Whitney had begun planning and preparation much earlier than the attack on Pearl Harbor, which officially brought the United States into the war. The major source of information for this project was the company archives of Pratt & Whitney. Detailed review and interpretation of correspondence, photographs, facility expansion, production and shipment statistics, research and development reports, and employee initiatives were consulted. Research and analysis prove the efforts Pratt & Whitney expended and the lengths the company went to, often of their own volition, to aide in the war effort are incredible. There were directed but unfunded research and development projects, company-funded military training programs, forward deployment of service representatives, funding facility expansions ahead of need, voluntary profit capping, and sharing quite publicly their technologies, processes, and know-how to mass produce their engines at little to no profit. Without Pratt & Whitney's efforts the Allied victory over the Axis Powers would have been questionable. "Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in History."; Thesis advisor" Matthew Warshauer.; M.S.,Central Connecticut State University,,2015.;