US and Canadian industry stepped forward to support the aircraft propeller production war effort. Several were aircraft manufacturing veterans while other manufacturers were newcomers. These manufacturers provided their industrial capacity to meet the Allied aviation needs. The United States Army procured 708,268 automatically controllable pitch aircraft propellers from 1940 through 1945 propellers.
The graph below only includes complex pitch controllable blades which were difficult to manufacture. It excludes those seen on puddle jumpers or manufactured from expensive steel or fixed-pitch blades fitted to some trainers.
Where to Fabricate
These aircraft propellers demonstrated the capitalistic approach flexibility not seen in Germany, Japan, or the Soviet Union. Curtiss retained control of management, design, and production inhouse at their own facilities. Whereas Hamilton Standard licensed the design to other manufacturers. Both methodologies had pros and cons. Curtiss could maintain a higher degree of control from start to finish, however Hamilton Sundstrand licensing option allowed a greater number of units to be produced.
Normally the in-house method allowed for quicker resolution of issues when identified as the appropriate parties were normally within the same facility and could jointly work the issues face to face in a timely fashion. However, the licensing arrangement brought fresh eyes to the design and production techniques and lessons learned could be shared across a greater swath of the industry.
Often the government stepped in and decreed that licensing would be required if the demand for a product was great. This is what occurred with the B-17 as those bombers were also manufactured at Lockheed Vega in Burbank, California, and Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach, California. Regarding the propellers both Curtiss and Hamilton Standard followed their internal corporate guidance.
Traditional and Nontraditional Propeller Manufacturers
Due to demand non-aviation companies were brought into the production process. Nash-Kelvinator resulted from a 1937 merger of an automobile manufacturer and an appliance manufacturer. Two other nontraditional propeller manufacturers Frigidaire and Remington Rand also entered the fray. Between these three they produced 297,114 of the 708,268 automatically controllable pitch aircraft propellers during the 1940 through 1945 timeframe. This was 41.9% of the total units produced.
Industry adapted to meet the country’s aircraft propeller war production needs. Traditional and nontraditional aviation manufacturers found ways to work together to meet their targets. Normally the traditional manufacturers provided the design and the nontraditional manufacturers stepped up to fill the capacity gap. Similar methods of utilizing traditional and nontraditional manufacturers were used extensively in the United States war production effort for other weapons and platforms as well.
US Propeller Production by Manufacturer Jul 40-Aug 45 Data
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|1||Canadian Propellers Ltd.||12,497|
|2||Aeroproducts Division of General Motors||20,773|
Source: CPA, Official Munitions Production, pp. 73-80. The figures are for controllable pitch types only. Source: Holley , Irving Brinton, Jr. “United States Army In World War II Special Studies Buying Aircraft: Materiel Procurement For The Army Air Forces.” 1964, Page 563, Center of Military History United States Army, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-60000, https://history.army.mil/html/books/011/11-2/index.html, Data accessed on July 12, 2022
Other Production Data
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