Collected by Sue A. Thomas, 4-24-02
From: Educator at Curtiss Museum [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 4:25 PM
Subject: Re: Thomas Brother Aviation School
Yes, we do have a lot of info on the Thomas Bros. In our archives. Also,
there is a great book "The Heritage of Bath" that has a nice section on them
In a nutshell- both came over from Great Britain - Oliver Thomas first-went to work
for GE in Schenectady, N.Y. William Thomas came in 1908 to work for Curtiss.
1909- Williamm designed & constructed a Bi-plane
1910 - founded the Thomas Bros. Airplane Co. in Hammondsport
Same year moved his operation to Hornell/Canisteo area to test
Then they moved to Bath, N.Y. (Lake Salubria) a Kirkham engine
was designed there - a pilot friend (also Curtiss employee-Walter Johnson,
began doing all the actual flying from the ice of Lake Salubria "The Thomas
1911 -Oliver joined his brother
1914 - once again they moved their plant to Ithaca, N.Y.
1916 - they merged Thomas School of Aviation & the Thomas Aeromotor Co.
1917- it became the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Co. (they no longer used the
Curtiss OX5 engines)
William continued to do some flying, Oliver was the engineer/Administrative
After WWI, Oliver retired from aviation 1922-William resigned- the company
remained in business until 1929 - Oliver went to Argentina, William to
Oliver died in England in 1948 William passed away July 29, 1966
During WWI, their company was the 4th largest producer of military aircraft
in the U.S.
Editor's Note: This summary of the careers of William and Oliver Thomas was collected by Sue A. Thomas and made available to us through her courtesy. She acquired them by her own initiative and curiosity and is continuing her search for more details. If you can help her in her quest, I am sure she would appreciate it. On behalf of myself and my visitors, I thank her very much for her efforts.
You will find a comprehensive listing of some 70 different models of planes produced by the Thomas enterprises from 1910 to 1934. It provides detailed descriptions of the planes, illustrated with some 27 photos, To access this wonderful resource, click on:
If you have any information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper