Baldwin Airlines

Discussion related to Baldwin Locomotive Works, Lima Locomotive Works, Lima-Hamilton Corporation, and Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton.

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Baldwin Airlines

Postby Tadman » Tue Jul 01, 2008 3:50 pm

I recently saw a picture of airline stationary from the 1920's. It was illustrating connections between an airline and one of the Insull interurbans, and a Rentshcler was named as a company officer. Knowing Hank's connection to the group, was there any connection to the airline from Baldwin?
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Re: Baldwin Airlines

Postby hankadam » Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:24 am

News to me. What was the Rentschler first name? Where was it located? Any other clues? With more information I could also ask my brother who still lives in Hamilton, Ohio and has a great historical file. All the best, Hank
Henry A. Rentschler
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Re: Baldwin Airlines

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:43 pm

I know that a Rentschler-- I have forgotten which one, but Hankadam would know-- was involved in the foundation of Pratt & Whitney, the aircraft engine manufacturer. Pratt & Whitney was-- starting in the 1930s or possibly 1920s-- a subsidiary of United Aircraft, the conglomerate which (on merging with Otis Elevators) became United Technologies. (I don't remember whether there has been a further name-change since then: the Otis/UA merger was some decades ago.)

United Aircraft at the time of its merger with Otis owned P&W, Sikorski Helicopters, Norden (the company that made the Norder bombsight of WW II fame), Hamilton-Standard (I think) and several other divisions, but the original United Aircraft had been much more inclusive: Congres had decided that airframe manufacturers, airlines, and aero-engine manufacturers should not be under common ownership, so they had to sell off their airplane builders (the most important was a Seattle company called Boeing) and their airline operating companies (one of which was Boeing Air Transport; I think the United Airlines of more recent times grew out of the operating component of the original UA).

I am not sure of the exact chronology, but it seems possible that the Pratt and Whitney Rentschler might have been involved in the larger conglomerate, and so have been an officer of one of the operating subsidiaries.

I don't remember the author or exact title (and I am not now on the same continent as the library I saw it in) but there is a book about the Boeing 247 airliner, published in (probably) the 1980s or early 1990s that contained a bit of the corporate history. I vaguely remember a reference to an executive who may have been a Rentschler.
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Re: Baldwin Airlines

Postby hankadam » Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:33 pm

Now we're getting somewhere - - - Don't think there is any connection between BALDWIN Airlines and BALDWIN LOCOMOTIVE WORKS. And can't see any connection with Insul or other traction enterprises. But, here we go again: There are tons of stuff on the Internet and Wikipidia about my great-uncle Frederick Brant Rentschler. (Check Rentschler Field in East Hartford) After an unsuccessful pass at building automobiles (Republic), shortly after graduating from Princeton in 1909, WWI came along, and he was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant. Later he became President of the fledgling Wright Aeronautical Corp. After a quarrel with the stodgy directors he set out on his own and, yes, did start United Aircraft, and along with Bill Boeing, start United Airlines. Very abbreviated history, but Allen Hazen has it correctly. Company split apart into engines, airframe and airline. And, again, my God, did these men make money!!! I only wish that my side of the family had been early investors, but that was not to be. Check out cover story of TIME magazine, May 28, 1951, = MR. HORSEPOWER = "The engine is the key to our supremacy" And they were real pioneers with jet engines, Sikorsky, and later (now) a huge conglomerate. I only met him once, in the late 1940's, the last time he cam back to Hamilton, Ohio, for his final business meeting at the Hamilton Works, just prior to becoming BLH. So my history is from TIME and family here say, rather than direct association. All the best, Hank Rentschler PS: Glad to see that our BLH Site is getting some activity - I usually check Site most every day, and we have generally been dormant for the last 3/4 weeks. Signing off = HAR.
Henry A. Rentschler
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Re: Baldwin Airlines

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:54 pm

((This is marginal: the book I mentioned is not likely to be the BEST reference for the United Aircraft history, but it's one I know of. I'm not at my usual library to check, but I ***think*** it is "The Boeing 247: the first modern airlinerm" by Robert F. van Linden, published 1991 by University of Washington Press for the National Air and Space Museum.))
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