In 1914 Martin stated that the airplane would decide the war in Europe. “For the old-time war tactics are no more. The generals who realize this quickest and fight first with the flying death will win.”
- In 1909 learned to fly with a pusher-type biplane he built.
- Claimed to be the first flier to take his mother flying, and the first to film motion pictures from an airplane.
- Formed the Glenn L. Martin Company and built the Army’s first tractor-type trainer, the first multi-passenger seaplane, developed a pack-type parachute and participated in early bombing tests.
- Martin Company built the MB-1, the first twin-engine American bomber.
- After World War I he built torpedo and dive bombers, flying boats and the B-10 bomber for which he received the Collier Trophy in 1932.
- In 1940 received the Daniel Guggenheim Medal for his China Clipper and B-26 Marauder bomber.
- During World War II he built flying boats and bombers.
- Following World War II his company developed rockets and missiles.
Glenn L. Martin was born at Macksburg, Iowa, on January 17th, 1886. At the age of two years his family moved to Liberal, Kansas, where his father ran a wheat farm and hardware shop. At the early age of six, he displayed the acumen which would make him a man of accomplishment throughout his career. He built and sold box kites in his neighborhood better than anyone else. He used the floor of his mother’s kitchen for a factory–and sold his kites for twenty-five cents apiece.
Fascinated by sails and lifting surfaces, Martin continued his numerous experiments. One example of these was fitting a sail to his toy wagon. Aided by the sail, he moved faster and with less effort on ice skates than any of his boyhood friends. Martin also performed some delicate navigation on his bicycle, using a sail for auxiliary power. These experiences helped Martin, ten years later, to construct his first airplane, built from his own blueprints. He used this to teach himself to fly.
Martin became an overnight sensation on the West Coast, flying exhibitions and engaging in any aeronautical effort which would prove his theories. He became the youngest airplane manufacturer in the world, building his craft for specialized purposes, and winning worldwide recognition as an outstanding aeronautical authority and engineer. Later, in January 1918, he organized a factory at Cleveland, Ohio, and developed a sensational design for a military bomber. However, the end of hostilities did not permit this bomber to see action in World War I. But Glenn L. Martin had “arrived”, and he subsequently built for both the Army and Navy a succession of aircraft. The culmination of his genius would show itself during World War II, with the advent of the famed B-26.
Martin moved his plant to Baltimore, Maryland, and his production success continued during World War II and beyond. He retired from active business and subsequently endowed the University of Maryland for the establishment of a school offering specialized instruction in the aeronautical sciences. Glenn Martin died in December 1955.
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