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Iowa History Daily: December 5 - George Martin Flies High

Iowa History Daily: On December 5, 1955, early American aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin, originally of Macksburg, passed away. Martin set aviation records, designed improtant aircrafts, and started an aviation company in 1912 which many around the world today know as Lockheed-Martin.

Although Martin spent his earliest years in Iowa, his family moved to Kansas during his childhood. Interested in kites from a young age, people paid him twenty-five cents for his well-engineered kite creations. He turned his mother's kitchen into a "factory" to produce more kites, and also started using sails on ice skates, wagons, and his bicycle. After studying for a time at Kansas Wesleyan University, Martin wanted to take to the skies himself.

In 1909, Martin built his first plane on the Curtiss June Bug design, however the first test flight destroyed the craft. Martin used silk and bamboo in the aircraft's construction while building his second plane which successfully made a short flight. By 1912, Martin flew a self-built seaplane from Newport Bay, California, to Avalon on Catalina Island, then back across the channel. This broke the earlier English Channel record for over-water flight.

In 1912 Martin built an airplane factory for his Glenn L. Martin Company in an old Methodist church in Los Angeles, California. To make money to finance his factory, Martin started stunt-flying at fairs and other public outings. In 1916 he merged the Glenn L. Martin Company with the original Wright Company to form the Wright-Martin Aircraft Company. He soon left and founded a second Glenn L. Martin Company in 1917, and that company merged with the American-Marietta Corporation in 1961 to form Martin Marietta Corporation. Martin Marietta merged with the Lockheed Corporation in 1995, forming Lockheed Martin, a major U.S. aerospace and defense contractor. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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