Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,469 pages of information and 233,894 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Pratt and Whitney

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1944. R-1340 S3H-1 Wasp engine.
October 19 1946.U.S Army Airforce C-74 - Powered by four Pratt and Whitney Wasp Major Engines.

The Pratt and Whitney Company was founded in 1860 by Francis A. Pratt and Amos Whitney, with headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut.

The company manufactured machine tools, tools for the makers of sewing machines, and gun-making machinery for use by the Union Army during the American Civil War.

That company is now known as Pratt and Whitney Measurement Systems. The companies are not connected with Pratt and Whitney.

In 1925, Frederick Brant Rentschler approached Pratt and Whitney looking for funds and a location to build his new aircraft engine. Pratt & Whitney loaned him $250,000, the use of the Pratt & Whitney name, and space in their building. This was the beginning of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company.

Pratt & Whitney's first engine, the Wasp, was completed on Christmas Eve 1925. The Wasp developed 425 horsepower (317 kW) on its third test run. It easily passed the Navy qualification test in March 1926, and by October the Navy had ordered 200 engines. The Wasp exhibited speed, climb, performance and reliability that revolutionised American aviation.

  • R-1340 (Wasp)
  • R-1690 (Hornet)
  • R-985 (Wasp Junior)
  • R-1535 (Twin Wasp Junior)
  • R-1830 (Twin Wasp)
  • R-2800 (Double Wasp)
  • R-4360 (Wasp Major) - powering many postwar large bombers and transports.

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