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“Innovations in aviation history and technology. Producer and director: Shirley Burden. Photography: Floyd Crosby, Al Wetzel.” Historic background lists Lockheed records with footage of Lockheed Vegas, etc. then shows Lockheed plant operations, Lockheed Electra variants, and finishes with the then-new Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
NEW VERSION with improved video & sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGOYjiofsAc
Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization.
The Lockheed Corporation (originally Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company) was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.,,
The Alco Hydro-Aeroplane Company was established in 1912 by the brothers Allan and Malcolm Loughead. This company was renamed the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company and located in Santa Barbara, California.
In 1926, following the failure of Loughead, Allan Loughead formed the Lockheed Aircraft Company (the spelling was changed to match its phonetic pronunciation) in Hollywood. In 1929, Lockheed sold out to Detroit Aircraft Corporation.
The Great Depression ruined the aircraft market, and Detroit Aircraft went bankrupt. A group of investors headed by brothers Robert and Courtland Gross, and Walter Varney, bought the company out of receivership in 1932. The syndicate bought the company for a mere $40,000. Ironically, Allan Loughead himself had planned to bid for his own company, but had raised “only” $50,000, which he felt was too small a sum for a serious bid.
In 1934, Robert E. Gross was named chairman of the new company, the Lockheed Corporation, which was headquartered at the airport in Burbank, California. His brother Courtlandt S. Gross was a co-founder and executive, succeeding Robert as Chairman following his death in 1961.
The first successful construction that was built in any number (141 aircraft) was the Vega, best known for its use to several first- and record setting flights by, among others, Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post and George Hubert Wilkins.
In the 1930s, Lockheed spent $139,400 to develop the Model 10 Electra, a small twin-engine transport. The company sold 40 in the first year of production. Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, flew this plane on their failed attempt to circumnavigate the world in 1937. Follow-on designs, the Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior and the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra expanded their market.
The Lockheed Model 14 formed the basis for the Hudson bomber, which was supplied to both the British Royal Air Force and the United States military before and during World War II. Its primary role was submarine hunting. The Model 14 Super Electra were sold abroad, and more than 100 were license-built in Japan for use by the Imperial Japanese Army. Lockheed was delivering airplanes to Japan until May 1939.
Production during World War II
At the beginning of World War II, Lockheed — under the guidance of Clarence (Kelly) Johnson, who is considered one of the best known American aircraft designers — answered a specification for an interceptor by submitting the P-38 Lightning fighter plane, a somewhat unorthodox twin-engine, twin-boom design. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day. It filled ground attack, air-to-air, and even strategic bombing roles in all theaters of the war in which the United States operated. The P-38 was responsible for shooting down more Japanese aircraft than any other U.S. Army Air Forces type during the war; and is particularly famous for being the airplane that shot down Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s airplane.
The Lockheed Vega factory was located next to Burbank’s Union Airport which it had purchased in 1940. During the war, the entire area was camouflaged to fool enemy aerial reconnaissance. The factory was hidden beneath a huge burlap tarp painted to depict a peaceful semi-rural neighborhood, replete with rubber automobiles. Hundreds of fake trees, shrubs, buildings and even fire hydrants were positioned to give a three dimensional appearance. The trees and shrubs were created from chicken wire treated with an adhesive and covered with feathers to provide a leafy texture.
All told, Lockheed and its subsidiary Vega produced 19,278 aircraft during World War II, representing six percent of those produced in the war. This included 2,600 Venturas, 2,750 B-17 Flying Fortresses (built under license from Boeing), 2,900 Hudsons, and 9,000 Lightnings…