Guide to the Dayton-Wright Airplane Company Photographs


Title:
Dayton-Wright Airplane Company Photographs
Repository:
Wright State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives
Phone: 937-775-2092
http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/
Creator:
Dayton-Wright Airplane Company
Dates:
1918-1922
Bulk dates:
1918
Quantity:
9.35 linear feet (156 large format glass plate negatives and 63 nitrate negatives)
Abstract:
The collection contains 156 large format glass plate negatives and 63 nitrate negatives depicting factory workers, interior and exterior plant views, airplane assembly, and completed airplanes from a Dayton manufacturer of World War I aircraft.
Identification:
MS-152
Language:
The records are in English

History of Dayton-Wright Airplane Company

In April 1917 the newly-established Dayton Airplane Company was reorganized into the Dayton Wright Company. Its founders were Edward A. Deeds, Charles F. Kettering, Harold E. Talbott, and Harold E. Talbott, Jr. Orville Wright lent his name to the operation and served as a consulting engineer. Dayton Wright operated out of plants in three locations: Moraine, Miamisburg, and the two former buildings of The Wright Company off West Third Street in Dayton.

Upon American entry into WWI, also in April 1917, Edward Deeds was commissioned a colonel and given the responsibility to procure aircraft for the Aircraft Production Board. He left the Dayton Wright Company, and then granted it two government contracts for 4,400 aircraft. The contracts specified 4,000 De Havilland 4s, British bombers to be redesigned for the American Liberty engine, and 400 J-I trainers designed by the American company Standard Aircraft.

The first Dayton Wright DH-4 was completed in September 1917. By October 1918 the company was at the height of its production, employing more than 8,000 workers and sending 400 airplanes to France each month. In total, the company delivered 3,506 airplanes to the warfront. In addition to these piloted aircraft, Charles Kettering and Orville Wright began in the fall of 1917 to develop a self-guided flying bomb with a carrying capacity of 200 pounds of explosives over a distance of 200 miles. The Bug was still in development when the war ended, but the program was cancelled in the 1920s. However, it was a significant contribution to early guided missile engineering.

Following WWI the national defense budget was cut dramatically, and Dayton Wright was forced to find new markets for its inventory of hundreds of partially completed planes. The air forces of Central American countries like Nicaragua, the U.S. Air Mail Service, and commercial buyers became its primary customers. The company continued to manufacture new designs, including the K.T. Cabin Cruiser, R.B. Racer, and XPS-I, the first airplane with retractable landing gear to be used by the U.S. Army.

The company was acquired by General Motors in 1919 and dissolved in 1923 when GM withdrew from airplane manufacturing and converted the plants for use in its Inland Division. Dayton Wright design rights were purchased by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation.

The photographs in this collection were taken by industrial photographers like William Preston Mayfield and staff photographers for the Dayton Electrical Laboratories (Delco), founded by Deeds and Kettering in 1912.

Scope and Content

The Dayton Wright Company collection contains 156 large format glass plate negatives and 63 nitrate negatives taken between 1918 and 1922.

The photographs depict airplanes in various stages of production both inside and outside the three Dayton Wright factories: plant 1, located next to South Field, on Springboro Road, Moraine, Ohio; plant 2, located in Miamisburg, Ohio; and plant 3, the former The Wright Company factories built between 1910 and 1911, located in Dayton, Ohio.

As most of the photographs were taken during wartime production in 1918, the majority of aircraft featured are the WWI fighter, De Havilland-4 (DH-4). Other models photographed include the Kettering Bug, T-4 Messenger, "Bullhead", DW Racer (RB-1), DW Honeymoon Express (DH-4B-5), and DW Chummy (T-3,-5). Motors by Nordyke Marmon, Cadillac, Buick and Ford are also featured.

Researchers can learn about the organization of the Dayton Wright Company facilities and the stages of early mass manufacture of airplanes from images of the following departments: Mill, Dry Kiln, Star, Wire, Motor Test, Wing, Engine, Final Wing, Landing Gear, Propeller Stock, and Balancing. As the collection contains no written documents, it is best used as a supplement to research on World War I mass manufacture of aircraft.

Prints of the negatives are available for reference in the collection and in digital versions online in CORE Scholar at "
http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms152_photographs".

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is comprised of 156 large format glass plate negatives and 63 nitrate negatives taken between 1918 and 1922. The images are arranged according to their numerical order.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Restrictions on Access

Users are requested to use the digital versions to view images for reference. These are available on CORE Scholar, Wright State University's campus online repository, at
https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms152_photographs/.

Related Material: Related Material

SC-150: Dayton Wright Company Record of Employees


Subject Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects:

Aeronautics, Military
Airplane factories
DH 4 (Bomber)

Organizations/Corporations:

Dayton-Wright Airplane Company--Pictorial works

Material Types:

Negatives (photographs)
Photographs

Preferred Citation

[Image Number (DW#)], MS-152, Dayton-Wright Airplane Company Photographs, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives Staff; finding aid updated, May 2014.


Other Finding Aid

Reference prints of the negatives are available in the collection, and digital versions are available online in CORE Scholar, Wright State University's campus online repository at
https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms152_photographs/.