Glenn L. Martin Company Print

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glen1The Glenn L. Martin Company, manufacturer of the B-26 Marauder, was founded by aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin on August 16, 1912. The company went through several mergers over half a century is now the aviation giant, Lockheed Martin.

Glenn Martin started out by building military trainers in Santa Ana, California. In 1916, he accepted a merger offer from the Wright Company and the Wright-Martin Aircraft Company was formed in September. However, the business relationship soon became strained and after only a year, Martin left to form a second Glenn L. Martin Company based in Cleveland, Ohio.

glen2Glenn L. Martin, c1920

Although the War Department ordered 110 more, it retained ownership rights to the design and put the order out for bid. Unfortunately for Martin, the production contracts were awarded other lower-bidding companies: Curtiss (50), L.W.F. Engineering (35), and Aeromarine (25). The MB-2 was the Air Service's only standard bomber until 1930 and was used by 7 squadrons of the Air Service/Air Corps: 4 in Virginia, 2 in Hawaii, and 1 in the Philippines.

In 1924, Martin underbid Curtiss on production of a Curtiss-designed scout bomber SC-1, and ultimately produced 404 of these. In 1929, Martin sold the Cleveland plant and built a new one in Middle River, Maryland, northeast of Baltimore.

During the 1930s, Martin built flying boats for the U.S. Navy, and the innovative B-10 bomber for the Army. It also produced the famous China Clipper flying boat used by Pan American Airways for its San Francisco to Manila route.

During World War II, a few of Martin's most successful designs were the B-26 Marauder and A-22 Maryland bombers, the PBM Mariner and JRM Mars flying boats, widely used for air-sea rescue, anti-submarine warfare and transport.

The company built the 531 B-29 Superfortresses and 1,585 B-26 Marauders at its Omaha plant at Offutt Field (later known as Offutt Air Force Base). Among the B-29's were the Enola Gay and Bockscar which dropped the war ending atomic bombs on Japan.

Postwar efforts included unsuccessful prototype XB-48 and XB-51 bombers, the B-57 Canberra night bombers, the P5M Marlin flying boat, and the Martin 4-0-4 twin-engine passenger plane.

Martin merged with the American-Marietta Corporation in 1961 to form the Martin Marietta Corporation, which eventually merged with the Lockheed Corporation in 1995 to form Lockheed Martin.

The Martin Company employed many of the founders and chief engineers of the American aerospace industry, including Donald Douglas, Lawrence Bell, James S. McDonnell, J.H. "Dutch" Kindleberger (North American Aviation) and C.A. Van Dusen (Brewster Aeronautical Corporation). Martin also taught William Boeing how to fly and sold him his first airplane.