Dayton-Wright Company
FormerlyDayton Airplane Company
Founded1917; 107 years ago (1917)
Defunct1923 (1923)
FateRights sold to Consolidated Aircraft Corporation
United States of America

The Dayton-Wright Company was formed in 1917, on the declaration of war between the United States and Germany,[1] by a group of Ohio investors that included Charles F. Kettering and Edward A. Deeds of Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (DELCO). Orville Wright lent his name and served as a consultant, but other than that, the location of one of its three factories in the original Wright Company factory buildings in Dayton, Ohio was the only connection to the Wright brothers. In addition to plant 3 (the former Wright Company buildings), Dayton-Wright operated factories in Moraine (plant 1, the main factory) and Miamisburg (plant 2), Ohio.[2] During the course of the war, Dayton-Wright produced about 3,000 DH-4s, as well as 400 Standard SJ-1 trainers. The company was hurt by the reputation of the DH-4s it produced as "flaming coffins" or "flying coffins", although they were not in reality more subject to catching fire than other aircraft,[3] and by scandals it faced.


The 1,000th DH-4 built by Dayton-Wright

Deeds and Kettering had previously worked together in several ventures. Deeds' DELCO produced automobile self-starters developed by Kettering. The two used DELCO's profits to form the Dayton Metal Products Company. Then they formed the Dayton Airplane Company in 1917, which was reorganized as the Dayton-Wright Company in April.[4] When the war began, Deeds was commissioned and put in charge of procurement for the Aircraft Production Board. He divested himself of his financial interest in Dayton-Wright but awarded the company two contracts to produce more than 4,000 DH-4 and Standard SJ-1 aircraft. Given the company's inexperience, the size of its contract led to charges of favoritism. A United States Senate committee corroborated these allegations, and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson appointed a commission headed by future Supreme Court of the United States Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes to investigate. Although mismanagement and favoritism were documented, charges were not brought, and the company survived the scandal. It went on to produce the XPS-1, the first airplane held by the U.S. Army with retractable landing gear.[5]

In 1919, Dayton-Wright built a limousine version of the DH-4, the single-seat Messenger, and a three-seater. In 1920, Milton C. Baumann designed the RB-1 racer,[6] with solid balsa wood wing,[7] enclosed cockpit, and retractable landing gear linked to rod-operated leading and trailing-edge camber-changing flaps.[8]

In 1923 the Dayton-Wright Company had just started producing side-by-side TW-3 aircraft, powered with World War I surplus Wright E engines (American-built 180 hp Hispano-Suiza) when it was closed down by the parent company General Motors, which had purchased it in 1919. Its design rights, chief designer (Colonel Virginius E. Clark), and the TW-3 contract, were acquired by the newly formed Consolidated Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo, New York in 1923. Subsequent TW-3 aircraft were delivered as Consolidated TW-3s.[9]



Dayton-Wright XB-1A
Model Flight No. built Type
Dayton-Wright FS 1917 2 Single engine biplane trainer
Dayton-Wright DH-4 1917 3,106 Single engine biplane bomber
Dayton-Wright Messenger 1918 1 Single engine biplane reconnaissance airplane
Dayton-Wright OW.1 Aerial Coupe 1919 1 Single engine biplane touring airplane
Dayton-Wright RB-1 Racer 1920 1 Single engine monoplane racer
Dayton-Wright FP.2 1921 1 Twin engine biplane observation airplane
Dayton-Wright KT Cabin Cruiser 1921 4 Single engine biplane touring airplane
Dayton-Wright XPS-1 1923 3 Single engine monoplane interceptor fighter
Dayton-Wright XB-1A 40-44 Single engine biplane fighter



  1. ^ Fred E. C. Culic and Spencer Dunmore, On Great White Wings (Airlife Publishing Ltd.: Shrewsbury, England, 2001), ISBN 1-84037-333-4), 176.
  2. ^ Aircraft Year Book (PDF). New York: Aircraft Manufacturers Association. 1919. p. 130. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Air and Space Power Journal staff: The DeHavilland DH-4 - Workhorse of the Army Air Service" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-01-25. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  4. ^ Crouch, Tom D. (2003). The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 469. ISBN 978-0-393-34746-3.
  5. ^ U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission Archived 2007-06-04 at the Wayback Machine accessed June 17, 2007
  6. ^ O'Leary, Michael (November 2003). "Dayton-Wright RB-1". Air Classics. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008.
  7. ^ John Wegg, General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors (London: Putnam, 1990), ISBN 0-85177-833-X, 38.
  8. ^ David Mondey, ed.; Michael Taylor, rev. The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (London: Greenwich Editions, 2000), ISBN 0-86288-268-0), 560.
  9. ^ F.G. Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, United States Military Aircraft Since 1909(New York: Putnam, 1964), ISBN 0-85177-816-X, 596.