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The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company was created on January 13, 1916 from the Curtiss Aeroplane Company of Hammondsport, New York and Curtiss Motor Company of Bath, New York. Burgess Company of Marblehead, Massachusetts, became a subsidiary in February 1916.
With the onset of World War I, military orders rose sharply, and Curtiss needed to expand quickly. In 1916, the company moved its headquarters and most manufacturing activities to Buffalo, New York, where there was far greater access to transportation, manpower, manufacturing expertise, and much needed capital. An ancillary operation was begun in Toronto, Ontario that was involved in both production and training, setting up the first flying school in Canada in 1915.
In 1917, the two major aircraft patent holders, the Wright Company and the Curtiss Company, had effectively blocked the building of new airplanes, which were desperately needed as the United States was entering World War I. The U.S. government, as a result of a recommendation of a committee formed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, pressured the industry to form a cross-licensing organization (in other terms a Patent pool), the Manufacturer's Aircraft Association.
Curtiss was instrumental in the development of U.S. Naval Aviation by providing training for pilots and providing aircraft. The first major order was for 144 various subtypes of the Model F trainer flying boat. In 1914, Curtiss had lured B. Douglas Thomas from Sopwith to design the Model J trainer, which led to the JN-4.
The Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company worked with the United States' British and Canadian Allies. JN-4s were built in Canada, and many were used as trainers in England. In order to complete the large military orders for the Curtiss Jenny two-seat biplane trainer, production shifted to as many as five other manufacturers.
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