The Glekn L.M>\rtin Compatn^y
TATJ BETA PI
UNIVERSITY OP MARYLAND
KOVEldBER 18, 1938
The true genesis of the G-lenn L. Martin Company,
long before it was dignified by legal Incorporation with
a "Company" title, was when a young man, aided toa oppor-
tunity offered hy his mother, began experimental work on
airplane construction in Santa Ana, California, in 1907.
His workshop was an abandoned church and his tools those
available in small- town garages of that dlstaml day, but,
his labors produced a "flyable", pusher -type biplane
which, in 1909, he taught himself to operate, ^^e next
three years represented a strenuous effort, against the
advice of neighbors and friends, to continue in the career
which fascinated him, a struggle made financially possible
only by appearances in "flying circuses" and a venture into
the movies In a film starring "Americans Sweetheart,"
Mary Pickford, 1912 brought him into further International
prominence when he flew from Newport Beach, California,
to Catallna Island, 51 miles out In the Pacific Ocean,
setting a new distance-record for over-wfcter flying ,
These activities earned for him the Aero Club of America's
Expert Aviation Certificate No. 2, In that same year
he succeeded In his dream of becoming an airplane man-
ufacturer. On August 16, 1912, he incorpor4ted one of the
first airplane companies In the Unites States and opened a
factory at Los Angeles.
The next year, the compsuiy delivered its first
airplane to the U. S, Armj , This was not only the first In
a long procession of Martin planes piir chased by the Army
and Navy but it was also America's first training plane
and won the Curtisa Marine Trophy for covering the greatest
mileage in one day.
In September, 1916, after the World V(ar had "been
under way for two years, Mr, Martin participated in a
merger which formed the Wright Martin Aircraft Corporation.
This association was discontinued when the activities of
the new combination became concentrated on engine production.
Mr, Martin again organized his own company. In ^^eptember
1917 tha Glenn L. Martin ^onpany of Ohio began operations
in Cleveland and. In April 1918, took possession of a
plant of 61, 000 sq. ft. of floor space.; History-making
aeronautical developments followed In rapid succession.
The world -fame of the Martin name is based primarily
on three epochal accomplishments.
First, In 1918, was the development of the first
American twin engine bomber, a bombardment plane so
superior to all contemporaries and so far in advance In
desigh that It remained for eight years the standard of
the U, S. Army.
Second, In 1935, came the sensational B-IO-B
Bomber which. In one jump, antiquated all other aircraft
In its classification, achieving 215 miles per hour at a
tlmo when the prevailing speed for Its type was nearly
100 miles slower and when pursuit planes of 175 miles
per hour were regarded as effective for defense.
That same year Mr. Martin astounded the aviation
world by taking a contract for a plane that "couldn't "be
built". Before many of the necessary accessories, including
engines and propellers of adequate rating were yet in exist-
ence and before the automatic pilot had been perfected, The
Glenn L, Martin "-^ompany signed a contract to produce the
ocean transports now known as the "China Clipper" type,
for the trans-Atlantic route, the flying boats which
demonstrated to the world the practicability of taans-
oceanic passenger and cargo flying when this route was
changed to the Pacific crossing.
Tfhile these three achievements are those which
established the popular fame of Glenn L, Martin, the
aviation v/orld recognizes the significance of other less
spectacular stepping-stones— 1919, the first model mall
planes J 1922, the first metal American monoplane sj
1926, the first airplane with alloy steel fuselage;
1927-8, the 5-p\irpose airplane for carrier use; 1929. the
first dive bombers successfully t* carry a 1,000 lb. bomb
in a terminal velocity dive; and, in 1938, the Model 166,
63,000 lb. super- transport, capable of carrying 16 pass-
engers, their baggage and a normal load of mail and express
non-stop from Kew ybrk to London In less than 24 hours.
Since 1929 the company's factory has been located
on a 1,200 acre tPGCt of land at Middle River, Maryland,
on the Chesapeake Bay, 10 miles east of the business section
of Baltimore, The property has a frontage of one and one-
half miles on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad,
affording excellent railroad transportation facilities.
In addition it enjoys a frontage on tide water, penetrated
by several arms of the Chesapeake Bay, where the Company's
flying boats can be launched within a relatively few yards
of the main Assembly Hall.
The factory site is on the northwest corner of th©
property contiguous to the railroad, with spur tracks in
operation. The plant. Is of the latest pavilion type
fireproof steel and brick construction, and has been so laid
out as to Insure minimum operation expenses and majtlmum
efficiency throughout. The main assembly Hall provides a
clear manufacturing area of 450 feet long by 300 feet wide
without coluDUis or obstructions of any kind, where flying
boats far larger than any yet constructed ©an be built and
assembledunder cover under Ideal manufacturing conditions.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EARLY LIFE— 1
MARTIN'S STORE IN KANSAS 3
FIRST FLIGHT 4
ODD JOBS IN THE AIR 7
UP TO Date advancements ii
Yi'KH INOVATIONS 14
BUILDING THE PaCTOIS" 17
PICTURES OF MARTIN PLANT 23
CONCLUSION ■ 28
THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE
MARTIN AIRPLANE COMPANY
In describing the "History and Development of the
Martin Airplane Company," a description of the events in
the life of Glenn L, Martin would almost complete the
subject. The story of his life is slmlllar to many of
our national heroes who through their untiring efforts
have succeeded in accomplishing what they set out to do.
He had numerous failures, but through these disappoint-
ments he became hardened and strove with increased effort
to overcome these difficulties.
Glenn L. Martin was born in Macksburg, Iowa, on
a bleak night in January, 1886, when the thermometer stood
at 25 below zero, and there was nothing flying but snow
and mortgage Interest dates. Leaving Macksbxirg, the
Martins lived for a brief while in Liberal, Kansas; but
most of Glenn' s boyhood was spent in Sallna taking things
apart. Threshing machines, separators, horseless buggies,
when they put in an appearance; everything mechanical was
prey for his inquisitive screw-driver.
An earnest and industrious reader, he came across
magazine pieces and books about the pi onoEi^ glider work
of Chanute and Lillenthal, and the flying -ma chine re-
searches of Langley, This new trend of hi a mental Interest,
and heroworshipiftfi, first took expression in Icltes. Grlean
filled the air aroumd Salina with kites in such abundance,
kites of such magnitude and magniflcenee, that Kansas
drove Ih froM all parts of Saline ©ounty to see them and to
wag their heads dolefully over a bent that might easily
turn into blasphemy.
Mother Martin finds that there were plain Indlcalj*
tlons of the future gr«at aircraft aianufacturer In that early
kltecraft. Kites were never, to tJlenn, as to other boys,
just a hank of string, a couple of sticks, a sheet of paper,
and a ball of twine. Then, as now, he was a great one for
figures. He would sit down at the kitchen table In the
little home in isalina, iiaftsevenings, and work for hours on
an "artist* conception" of the projected kite. Sg,tisfiacl
presently, with the design, ke would make complet* working
blueprints of the kite— every cross-stick, every length of
string, every inch of covering — that's where a lot of Mother
Martin's worn bed sheets went I — would be reduced to scaled
drawings, and to cost. He knew exactly how many pennies
each kite would cost him before he started to build it.
In this respect tJlenn Martin was the only boy in history
to exactly estimate and budget his kites. J?Vom kites to
gliders was a natural step for the young aero»»aut, who
wd4ked for miles trying to find those gentle slopes whlck
pass for hills in Kansas, so that he could get a running
start for a glide Into some neighbor's field. ,
The Martin Store at Liberal, Kansas, in the
Glenn's Father is the Hatless Man in the
Saturday Evening Post, August 14, 1937
Glenn finlsiied two years at Kansas Wo 3 ley an when he
was nineteen— since then they have been glad to give hla an
konorary Sc. D. Degree- -and moved to Santa *aa, California,
with kia parents. There he was tolling happily In a garage,
surrounded by heaps of automobiles which he had taken apart,
when the news came along casually and belatedly that a couple
of fellows named Wright had flovai, Glenn put down his
wrecking-bar and walked thoughtfully home. Mother was there
and as was his custom he talked over the possibilities of
his accomplishing the same feat with her. She encouraged
him to do the thing he thought he could do .
Glenn found an abandoned church which he could rent
for twelve dollars a month. He tacked newspapers over the
windows so that neighbors couldn't look in to see what he
was doing and plague him by sending policemen to "get that
crazy man," Nights, after he had put in a full day of
work at the garage, he worked on his plane while his mother
held a kerosene lamp for him, '^'here was no other lighting
available in the moldy building.
Th» plane was finished— It was the fi-uit of his long
list of gliders. He mounted a 14-horsepower -''ord automobile
motor in it, and t2"ien on a day in 1908T-when he was just <''
past twenty —he wheeled it to a meadow on the farm of James
Irvine, at the south end of Main Street in Santa Ana,
Hiujidreds of people gathered, but the youngster recalls that
Chiirch in which Martin Built His ^""irst
Glenn Martin at the Wheel Of His Elrst
Saturday Evening Post August 14, 1957
as he took lals seat on the front edge of the wing and secured
his strap with trembling hands he could see only his mother.
The jaraje saw him no more, Glenn Martin, airplane
manufacturer, was born, -tbr a man with such a head for
figures was not one to do things on a small acale. Ke
realized the importance of organization. "If I have any
genius, any outstanding talent," he saya, "it is for hiring
men who know more than I do, iVhen I speak of the engineering
achievements of Kartla aircraft in terms of 'we', I am not
disclaiming personal credit, nor am I having an attack of
generosity, I am merely telling the truth. Ilie planes
are the product of the organization, I onl;jr direct, "^ako
for Instance, a specific problem of engineering detail. I
have the bRCkground of two college years, and many years of
self- instruction at night. If I sit down to It and concentrate
I can do that problem, and get It correct; but it will take
me sixteen hours and I'll be worn out. In the plant we
have one hundred engineers. Some of them are mere boys,
smart as whips. X can send for any one of those boys at
three-thirty In the afternoon, tell him the problem, and
at five he will lay the answer on my desk and say, '^^ny thing
else tonight, Mr, Martin?"'*
By 1913 he had in full blast in Santa Ana the largest
*Collier3, June 3, 1933 p. 48
alrcraft mRnufacturlng plant In the world. But, while
the church was still their factory, poverty was the Tillain.
Glenn, his mother and seven devoted ex-automoblle mechanics
would stand back and survey a little airplane, built from
hand to mouth, tram 1 oiir to hour: steel bargained for there,
wood here, wires and linen any place. Mother Martin, ll]f:e
as not, had sewn on the wings.
It was their whole fortune in this world that they
saw before them on th(S dirt floor of the tumble-down church.
It would be sold — luckily. Then '^lenn would go out in his
own ship and give exhibitions up and d^iwn the United States
throughout the summer in order to raise enough money to keep
his plant going.
ODD JOBSIN THE AIR
Glenn was one of the first American pilots to win
an International license of the Federation Aeronauti^^ue
Internationale, He was the first aviator ever to take his
Bioth;r flying; the first aviator to fly below sea level —
this feat was performed at Brawl ey, in the Iiyperial Valley;
the first to deliver merchandise by air; in 1911 he ran an
aerial express service in California, He was the first to
take movies in the air; a picture (galled "Battle in the
Clouds," and he flew Mary Pickford and worked as the villain
in one of her productions.
In May, 1912, two years after Bier lot flew the
Channel, Glenn Martin made the longest and most daring water
(9l<?^tn Margin Tojintj ^'^i^ '^»^ Pfcfc^^i^of CorU E^ A^
^«rlv Fi?i*iou* P)*tye#-5 Fn#M ^ ^-h^i <SiW O-P ye=,tcraay
^ "5 ■ i ( J / "^ 3 "T"
flight ever known up to that tlmej from the California
mAinland to Av&lon, on Catallna Island, thirt^j miles out
In the Pacific. In 1912 he armed himself with field glasses
and performed the first aerial police work; searching for
two "bandits in the mountains. He did not find the bandits
but he did gire an interview to the papers prophesying that
one day airplanes would be a commonplace and Invaluable part
of policework; and that air traffic would be so heavy that
Federal air police would have to patrol the sky lane s4nd
shoot dovm sky-hogs and other violators.
By 1916 Glenn could earn more money on the ground.
He was working on the twenty -four -plane Dutch order, building
a series of ships for the Army, and filling private contracts.
And in that year he entered Into a new business arrangement
that brought him Kast. Well Street promoters organized a
merger of the Wright brothers' manufacturing interests with
Martin's in what was termed a §10,000,000 enterprise. Over
the protests of California newspapers, Martin accepted the
vlce-presldenoy of the new corporation and removed to New
Although Martin built the first Liberty-motored bomber.
It saw no service In France. He was unable to get it into
production until 1918 and, meanv^hlle, our Army had adopted
the British Handley-Page. But Martin improved his bomber,
a Itimbering twin-motored Craft with a roomy capacity for
bombs and a erusing speed of 80 miles per hour, and it became
standard in oiir ■'*rmy until 1925.
Martin-Bullt China Clipper Outward Bour.d From
San JTranclsco Bay for Hong Kong and Way Stations
Saturday Evening Post August 14, 1957
UP TO DATE ADVANCEMENTS
In 1932, he revolutionized air attack, bringing
out the Model B 10-B the famous "flying whale"— which, in
one sure step, lifted the speed of heavy service aircraft
by 100 miles per hour, to 225; rendered obsolete most of
the light pursuit planes in the world's armies and navies;
enlarged the possibilities of swift passenger transport and
earned for Martin the valued Collier trophy from the hands
of ^resident Koosevelt in 1933,
In 1933, Mr. Martin astounded the aviation world
by taking a contract for a plane that "couldn't be built,"
Before many of the necessary accessories. Including engines
and propellora of adequate rating were yet in existence and
before the automatic pilot had been perfected. The Glenn L.
Martin Company signed a contract to produce the ocean trans-
ports now known as the "China Clipper" type for the trans-
Atlantlc route, the flying bo*ta which demonstrated to the
world the practicability of trans-oceanic passenger and
cargo flying when this route was changed to the Pacific
In 1937 a larger flying boat slmlllar to the
the "China Clipper" was completed. This airplane was
sent to Russia for use in their extensive coimnercial air
force. It is the largest airplane built by the Martin Co.
and one of the largest planes flying today.
In 1937 Martin decided to build his "dream boat".
This new ocean transport will be manned by a crew of 11
Pencil Sketch Of th& Proposed Trans-Atlantic
Drawn from artists conception of completed
airplane. Published In Baltimore Sun Deo. 11, 1937
men, and will carry its passengers on two decks in largo
luxurious quaters, including a game room where passengers
can play table tennis and quoits.
On the lower deck will be a large salon with over-
stuffed chairs and a bar, i^orward, beneath the pilots and
radio compartment will be an observation room, where pass-
engers will look out of large windows.
There will be a full sized kitchen, shower facilities
and rimnlng water, and toilet faeilitieain the passengers
cabins. Interior decorations are being planned carefully.
It is understood that the new flying boat la being
considered for use by the American Export AirHnes, a
subsidiary of the Export Steamship Corportatlon, which has
been organized to challenge the Pan-American Airways for
transatlantic passenger and mail business. Below are
figures that compare the new transport which will be
finished in 1939 to the Kuaalan transport,*
New Transport Russian Transport
188* wing span 15V*
118* fusellfie length 91 » 10"
100-- — --"day passengers--- -46
66~ — -- — —-—-night passengers 26
190 crusing speed 145-170
230 high speed 200
16,670# pay load 7,500#
8000 ml.--- — "-- ---extreme range -5000 mi,
♦Baltimore Sun 12-11-37 p, 24
Buzzing around high above Maryland these past few
weeks has been a little airplane that may be one of the
most important developments In aviations brief history.
Unexciting in itself, the tiny craft may resxilt in the
development and construction of airliners so much larger
than any now in existence or under way that the average
mind will be unable to appreciate their dimensions.
Built by Glenn L. Martin at the Middle River
factory near Baltimore, the little ship is the world's
first man- carrying, scale flying model of a full- sized
flying boat. Its purpose, briefly is to determine at low
cost the performance and characteristics of a projected
aircraft which would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars
to design, manufacture and test.
Today the only method available to them is through
the use of wind tunnels and towing t>«-sins, in which a model
is tested under nearly ideal conditions such as the airplane
itself might encounter one day in the year. Because of the
unnatural, mechanically ideal nature of the wind tunne}.,
errors are almost certain to creep into calculations reached
through its use — errors that may result in complete falliire
and a consequent tremendous financial loss to the manu-
facturer, or, at least, necessitate costly changes in the
Martin hopes that the flying model built to the
exact scale of the projected airplane will enable him to
determine much of the data necessary for its construction.
by testing it under natural conditions to ellmlnato as
much design error as it is humanly possible to eliminate,
and enable him to make any necessary changes before
One of the most inportant of the tests being conduc-
ted with the little ship is to determine Its characteristics
on the water. Naturally, a flying boat must handle well
when it is being maneuvered on the surface, and the shape
aiKi dimensions of the hull are of the utmost importance.
The Martin scale model is, as far as any one knows, the
first of its type in the world. No one, to the Martin
company's knowledge, ever before has attempted this method
Only when Martin has actually built a hu^e super-
liner larger than anything ever before constructed, using the
scale model to help work out the characteristics and per-
formance, and it is as successful as all his other airplanes
have been., will the true value of the little experimental
ship be known. Only then will anyone know definitely that
the idea Is the answer to the manufacturers' problems. If
it is, we all may be sure that the world will see some
amazing advances in the construction of big flying boats of
the type which will rival the surface ocean-going craft of
today; the kind that has been predicted in the i>unday
"science" section, but so far not seen.
The novel little ship's actual size stands out
beside the recently completed Russian Clipper.
Popular Aviation March 1938
BUILDING THE FACTORY
On March 15, 1929, Martin made public his intentions
of establishing his airplane factory at the Middle River
10 miles from Baltimore, '^e following alcetches show the
location and general plan of his proposed site. The
factory Is located In a 200-acre tract north of i>ark Head
creek. Adjoining it is a 1,000 acre airport pro-rldinfi a
runway of more than a mile in length in any direction.
The origlonal proposal included hangers for land and
sea planes, an aviation sGhool, hotels, restaurants and
service stations, water-front residences to provide smrnntr
homes for sportsmen interested in aviation, "boating, fishing
and other sports also were planned. These plans were not
carled out however because of the failure in the plan to
make Baltimore the United States air center.
With the growing demand for transoceanic passenger
planes, 16- to 20- ton army bombers, and four-englned navy
flying boats, the already heavy volume of the Martin
Company's business increased to a point where it was
necessary to construct a new assembly plant at Baltimore.
Consequently, Albert Kahn, Inc., architects of Detroit,
submitted conpleteia designs for the structure toward the
latter part of April, 1937, work on the building was started
early in May, and the completed plant is now in op ration.
The entire project, involving a construction cost of
approximately $2,000,000, consists of a main assembly
GENERAL LOCATION OP MARTIN SITE
General location of the Martin Site,
The Baltimore Sun March 15, 1929
Proposed Site Of Martini Aircraft- The Suni 15-3 -is
OBJECTS IN REP NOT BUILT BY (93 8
buildinfi, a three-story engineering "building, and a
two-stor^ wing In which space Is provided for cafeteria,
lockers and toilets. Adjoining Is the office building.
The assembly building, measuring 300 ft. wide by
450 ft. long, is spacious enough to allow assembly of
planes larger than any yet built, A-s can be seen In
the following picture, even the Russian Clipper, which
has a wing span of 157 ft, and an overall Ifcngth of 92 ft,
looks comparatively small. Twelve planes of this type could
be assembled at one time in this building.
In the entire floor area of 135,000 sq. ft. there
are no interior columns. The roof trusses, which span
300 ft, from column to coluunn, are 30 ft, deep and weigh
123 tons each. Ten of these trusses, spaced 50 ft. apart,
support the entire roof. Because of their dimensions, they
had to be ere<Sted by metnods applicable to bridge const-
Columns supporting the ends of the trusses are 4 ft,
deep, and are of the open lattice type instead of the solid
web type, the 4 ft, space being used for the passage of
steam, air, water ajid other process piping. The columns have
been designed to withstand wind pressure against all sides
of the building, and to achieve this result, those along
one side have pin end bearings.
Height fi'om floor to underside of the roof truss
is 45 ft. e in., and an overhead nomorail system, used
Interior of the Martin assembly
Aero Digest April 1938
to transport parts required in the assembly of planes, is
suspended from the hottom c?iord of the trusses. Clear
height from floor to "underside of the monorail system is
40 ft. At the south end of the hulldlng there are three
100 ft, wide vortical-lift canopy type doors which can be
raised simultaneously, thus providing a clear opening
300 ft, wide by 40 ft. high.
Exterior walls of the building are brick to a
height of 8 ft. above floor level. Above the window sills
the walls have large expanses of glazed steel sashj add-
itional glazed sash Is Installed in the roof monitors so
that the interior of the building is well lighted during
Artificial lighting, of an intensity of 60 ft.
candles on the working plane, is obtained from the
installation of high-intensity mercury vapor lamps suspended
at the roof truss level. Spacing of electric light outlets
was designed to obtain uniformity of lighting, now recognized
as being as Important as intensity of lighting.
The building is heat<6d by a Lief Lee hot-air system.
Two heating chambers, 40 ft. wide by 75 ft. long, were
constructed below the ground floor, one near each end of
the Ttjuilding, Hot air ducts (or trenches) run underground
distrubuting the heat by forced ventilation to various parts
of the building. Additional under-ground trenches are used
for power wiring and process piping.
Above is an artists drawing of the complete
Martin Plant. The assembly room is shown on
left, the engineering building in the center,
and the administration and cafeteria on the
right. The following pictures are snapshots
of the above buildings taken at different
Eiiglneerlng building from the southeast corner,
Administration building on the left and the
Assembly hall as shown from southeast corner,
View taken from the Penn. R. R, with
Eastern Ave. In the foreground.
Western face of the Engineering Building
with Assembly Hall in the rear.
VI ew of north-east corner of the Aasembly
Hall with Frog Mortar Creek in the foreground.
Eastern side of Assembly Hall with Middle
River in the foregroxind. The concrete ramp
can be seen on the center-left.
Eastern side of Assembly Hall with
Middle River in the Foreground. Ramp
in center, i^ark Head Creek to left.
A view to the south of Middle River.
In the preceedinfi pages the development of a
great industry Is presented. This thesis possible only
because of the untiring efforts of one man who did not
know the meaning of the word "failure'*. One thing has never
left him in his climb to the top— the boy ft*om Sallna
who stood on a platform in London, England, and delivered tbe
Vfllbur Wright Memorial lecture of 1931 to the Hoyal Aero-
nautical Society still has the barnstormer's singular
irregularity: an unconsciousness of clocks. Sometimes,
when he lived in Washing |x>n, he would look up from a new
sketch and see that it la on_ln the morning, and home fifty
miles away. So they had to fix up an apartment for him In
ftt the factory; It is as plain as a monastery cell, a
reflection of quiet tastes. One thing you feel, back of
all Glenn Martinis friendliness; an iron will.
The little church of Santa Ana could be tucked into
the office safe at Baltimore, Yet it is doubtfull that Glenn
Martin is any prouder of the new than of the old; he is that
sort — ;his mind advances while his heart clings to yesterday.
His is a little heavier at fifty- two than he was at twenty.
He looks more like a school-teacher than an industrial leader
as he sits behind his desk and looks out over his three
thousand acres, but never was there a man who set his goal
and strove for it as did Glenn L, Martin,
THE DEVELOPMENT OF LATER TYPES OF LOCOMOTIVES USED BY
THE B/iLTIMORE AND OHIO HAILHOAD
THOS, H. GRAHAM
THE PHI MU FEATERUITY.