Pratt & Whitney History
Pratt & Whitney has a long history of leadership and innovation in the field of aviation propulsion. Our story begins in the 1920s and has flourished throughout the decades. We have continuously transformed and reinvented our businesses to offer superior products and services to our customers.
In 1925, the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company was founded by Frederick B. Rentschler, pioneer of the air-cooled radial engine design which enabled unprecedented power-to-weight ratio. Its first engine, the R-1340 Wasp engine, transformed military and commercial aviation and is still in use today. In 1928, the Canadian division of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company was established.
In 1944, Pratt & Whitney began its gas turbine and jet propulsion initiative. The company constructed a wind tunnel, laboratory and engineering center to support our allies’ efforts in World War II. In 1945, wartime production included more than 300,000 Pratt & Whitney engines, touted by service members as extremely dependable – a legacy that continues today.
From there, Pratt & Whitney continued to design and innovate more powerful, agile, and reliable engines becoming a leader in the aerospace industry. Today, Pratt & Whitney has more than 85,000 engines in service and more than 16,000 customers worldwide.