Aircraft Engine Historical Society Members Only

Aircraft Engine Company Publications

by Bill Lewis

Published 20170109

Bill Lewis has been collecting aircraft engine company publications (house magazines, journals and newsletters) for some time, and has kindly shared scans of some sample covers and contents with the AEHS. No engine company publications were published anywhere prior WWI, and most were pre-1946. The first titles were all employee related, with just basic information. A  good example of this is the  Curtiss Flyleaf , which was published from July 1917 until June 1918. None of the ten issues contain any engine material, but instead described how the war was being won and encouraged employees to buy war bonds.

There are many WWII-era company titles that have similar content — very little technical information or company activity details due to government, military or company-imposed censorship. Who wanted to see inside a  factory or the machinery that an employee used in 50-hour production workweek anyway? Some are good for researching family members' stories (Did Uncle Harry really hit that home run for the company baseball team in June 1943, and then get drafted that July? He always talked about the home run but didn’t mention his military service!)

Employees generally picked up this type of company publication on the way out of the gate when going home or received them by mail at their homes. They were typically never given out on the way into work as the company didn’t want production lost or slowed due to employees reading even a few pages on company time! Most employee-type magazines stopped at end of WWII production as companies then didn’t have any material on how the war was being won or why one should buy war bonds, especially when thousands of employees were now just hundreds or even zero with gates closed.

There were a few companies that manufactured aircraft or automobiles along with aircraft engines; Rolls-Royce, de Havilland, Napier, and Renault are examples. Unfortunately, none of these had separate publication for their aircraft engine business or had no aircraft engine material in their publications. Lewis has not collected such publications and none of their titles appear here.

Those interested in researching aircraft engine company publications should begin by consulting Aeronautical and Space Serial Publications; A World List, which was published by the Library Of Congress in 1962. A second good reference is  Aeronautical Engineering Review May 1946 pages 118 – 123. These form a starting point for research, but are neither complete nor entirely accurate. Although they list titles, they do not provide information on content, size, binding, page count, etc.

Some of the titles can be found on eBay and other Internet sites. Buyers should try to purchase at least 50-75% of the issues per year or volume on first buy. Although one might pay more with this method it avoids a lot of duplicate issues.


The listing format used for the titles below below is as follows:

Company: Title or Titles. Publication Dates and Frequency, Size, Page Count.

Size Codes
A4 = 8.5” x 12”
4qto = 8” x 10”
8vo = 6” x 8”
Legal = 8” x 14”

American Titles

Allison Service Division: Tailspins. May 1943 to July 1945, monthly, 8vo, 20-30 pages with color covers.
Has material seen no where else, even in the company manuals! Good source for service engineers' names and duty movements, oldest V-1710-33 engine and number still in service in 1944. Has hints on maintenance, such as why the British Lockheed 322 (P-38) engines were giving trouble.



Chandler-Evans: The Air Box. August 1942 to 1945, quarterly, 4qto, early issues were 8 pages, later ones 20 pages.
The first issues had black and white illustrated covers; later ones had blue covers but the photo illustrations were still black and white. If one is looking for details on Chandler-Evans Ceco carburetors and fuel pumps used on R-3350 engines in B-29s, this is not it! The publication is devoted to employee activities, with very little on company production.

Curtiss-Wright Propeller Division: Bladesman. May 1941 to Summer 1945?, semi-monthly until 1945 then quarterly, 4qto, 20-30 pages per issue.
Covers were always in color. Bladesman was a public-relations publication pre-WWII, then employee-related with information on how the production war was being won. There is some solid information here. Collectors should beware of WWII issues because the color rear covers were often torn/cut off for framing and may be missing.

Curtiss-Wright: The Tradewind. July 1929 to December 1931, 4qto, 15+ pages.
Previously The Wright Engine Builder. The title changed with the Curtiss-Wright merger of 5 July 1929.

Curtiss-Wright: Curtiss-Wright Review. January 1932 to March 1934?, monthly, 4qto except January 1932, which was legal-size, 15+ pages.

Curtiss-Wright: Sales and Service Newsletter. April 1934 to August 1934 (five issues), 4qto, 15+ pages.

Curtiss-Wright: Trade Winds. October 1934 to 1947, monthly, 4qto, most 20+ pages.
In March 1941 covers went to red photo covers and the title script was changed. The May 1936 issue started the Kenneth Boedeckers “Purely Personnel” column, located on the inside of rear cover. This column included snapshots aviation people, famous and otherwise. Bodecker was the Engine Service Engineer who tuned Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis engine. He also may have been the only passenger that Lindberg ever carried in The Spirit, as it was a single seat aircraft! Trade Winds, along with Pratt & Whitney's Bee-Hive had world-wide in distribution. The pre-war issues are the best for content.

Fairchild: Aviation News. Intermittently published from April 1929 until 1938, 4qto, 15+ pages.
A total of 15 to18 issues, all numbered and dated, were published. Only the middle 1930s issues have some engine material as most was dedicated to aircraft. See American Aviation Historical Society Journal Vol. 45 (2000) page 22 for a history of this publication, along with the later Pegasus title.

Fairchild (Ranger): Cloud Buster. 1945, oblong 4qto coil bound with yellow board covers, 80 pages.
This annual has WWII-era digests/reprints from earlier issues of the same title. It may have been published at end of engine production in 1945 and given as a Ranger employment memento. It has some interesting material on manufacturing including management personnel hire dates, length of service, and photographs with various VIPs that visited.

Jacobs: Plane Power. June 1943 to 1946, monthly, 4qto, 14 pages until 1946, then 8 pages.
All covers have a red outline with the company logo in the left lower corner. This is nearly all employee activities with very little on engine production. Jacobs beauty queens are still good looking, however!

Kirkham: The Kirkham News. April 1935 and July 1935 are the only known issues, 4qto, 8 pages.
Charles B. Kirkham started in the aircraft engine business at Bath, New York during 1909. When his company failed in 1915 he went to Curtiss, where he put the -5 on the OX. He and Arthur Nutt also designed the first modern V-12 monoblock engine at Curtiss in 1918, an engine that became the D-12. The Kirkham News was all historical in nature, with photographs of Kirham’s early aeronautical work. This is the type of material that is important!

Lycoming: The Lycoming Star. January 1939 to 1945?, monthly, mostly 4qto 4-page self-mailer.
Pre-war issues were public relations, but in 1943 it became more employee human interest related. Good material here.

Lycoming: The Lycoming Starduster. October 1941 to 1945?, monthly, mostly 4qto, 8 pages.
All-employee publication. The August 1943 issue featured a photo of women in coveralls taken at Lycoming in 1918, and another current photo of the same women in more modern coveralls! This title still OK, however!

Pratt & Whitney: The Bee-Hive. January 1927 through today, monthly to 1945, 4qto, 15+ pages.
This title, along with Boeing Magazine & Airliner, is more than likely the only company publication most aircraft engine enthusiasts have ever seen; both had long runs. The Bee-Hive is public relations, devoted to promoting company engines. From the first issue it has had little employee chit-chat, the closest being a late 1920s issue with a company picnic photos. The Bee-Hive had world-wide in distribution!  Naturally, the pre-war issues have the best for content.

Pratt & Whitney Missouri: The Wasp Nest. February 1943 to 1945, monthly, 4qto, 20+ pages.
Employee news and war-effort status, but not many details on the R-2800 engines manufactured in Missouri. The Wasp Nest, however, had very good employee photographs.

Wright Martin: Aircraftings. 1918 to 1919? Weekly legal-sized off-white paper, 16p pages.
Employee paper with nothing on the license-built Hispano-Suiza engines in Issue # 34 dated 14 December 1918, which is the only one I have.

Wright Aero: The Wright Aircraft Builder. 1920 to June 1926, 4qto except the January 1932 issue, which is legal-sized.
The title change to The Wright Engine Builder for July 1926 to June 1929, and then to The Tradewind after the Curtiss-Wright merger. All these titles are for public relations, advertising reliable Wright engines now flying the world over! I really like this title; very good material.


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