HISTORIC AIRPLANES: Commercial
Commercial aviation companies sought airmail
contracts to subsidize their industry as manufacturers worked
to integrate safety and passenger space into aircraft design.
Early airmail legislation gave companies the financing they
needed to build their industry.
company strove to produce the best aircraft for their needs.
At this time, aircraft manufacturers could control their own
aviation companies, and many did. Early airplane manufacturing
companies included Curtiss-Wright, Glenn Martin, Boeing, Douglas,
Ryan, Fokker, Ford, General Motors, Lockheed, Northrop and
McDonnell. Some of these early manufacturers left the field
altogether, others merged to form new companies focusing on
the production and service ends of the airline industry.
In 1920, of the 328 aircraft produced in the
U.S., 256 had been built for the military, and only 72 for
civilian use. By 1927, the year that commercial aviators took
complete control of airmail service, two thirds of the 1,495
airplanes built were for the commercial aviation industry.
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