Thomas-Morse Aircraft

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Thomas Brothers Aeroplane Company factory floor in Ithaca, New York in 1915
Thomas Brothers Aeroplane Company in Ithaca, New York in 1915

The Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation was an American aircraft manufacturer, until it was taken over by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1929.

History[edit]

Founded in 1910 by English expatriates William T. Thomas and his brother Oliver W. Thomas[1] as Thomas Brothers Company in Hammondsport, New York,[2] the company moved to Hornell, New York, and moved again to Bath, New York the same year.[2] At the Livingston County Picnic in 1912 The Thomas Brothers Hydro-aeroplane was scheduled to fly the first Hydro-aeroplane in Livingston County but later reported the winds prevented the flight.[3] During 1913, the company operated the affiliated Thomas Brothers School of Aviation at Conesus Lake, McPherson Point in Livingston County, New York state[2][4](taking a page from Glenn Curtiss, who did much the same at Keuka Lake). In 1913, the name became Thomas Brothers Aeroplane Company and based in Ithaca, New York.[2] December 7, 1914 the company moved to Ithaca.

In 1915, Thomas Brothers built T-2 tractor biplanes (designed by Benjamin D. Thomas, no relation to the brothers and also an Englishman, formerly of Vickers, Sopwith, and Curtiss,[1] and later the company's chief designer) for the Royal Naval Air Service.[5] and (fitted with floats in place of wheels)[6] to the United States Navy as the SH-4. They received an order for 24 T-2's from the British, for use in the European war. Because the Curtiss OX engines weren't available they founded an engine subsidiary the Thomas Aeromotor Company which would stress their finances.[7] In 1916, the company won a contract from the United States Army Signal Corps for two aircraft for evaluation, the D-5.[6]

In January 1917, financial difficulties led to the company merge with Morse Chain Company (headed by Frank L. Morse), who was backed financially by H T Westinghouse,[7] becoming Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation, still based in Ithaca.[2] The company then made an attempt at selling training biplanes to the United States Army and was successful with the S-4 trainer (which included a handful of S-5 floatplanes and a single S-4E) and MB series of fighters. The last company design was the O-19 observation biplane. In 1929 the company was taken over by the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, becoming the Thomas-Morse Division, and ceased business in 1934.[2]

Aircraft[edit]

D-2
HS
MB-3

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/Aircraft/Thomas-Morse.html
  2. ^ a b c d e f Aerofiles:Thomas, retrieved 8/4/2008
  3. ^ Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Aug 7,1912
  4. ^ 1913 Aero and Hydro vol 6 pg 249
  5. ^ Donald, David, ed. Encyclopedia of World Aircraft (Etobicoke, Ontario: Prospero Books, 1997), p.875, "Thomas Brothers and Thomas-Morse aircraft".
  6. ^ a b Donald, p.875.
  7. ^ a b Flying Magazine. August 1960. pp. 54–. ISSN 0015-4806. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Donald, David, ed. Encyclopedia of World Aircraft, p. 854, "Standard aircraft". Etobicoke, Ontario: Prospero Books, 1997.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). Orbis Publishing, 1985, p. 3000.

External links[edit]

Media related to Thomas-Morse aircraft at Wikimedia Commons