February 1, 2016

Pratt’s first engine gets historic designation

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
The R-1340 Wasp engine was built to be dependable. More than 90 years later, the engine that helped build Pratt & Whitney, and changed the aviation industry, is being named a national historic engineering landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has assigned its "histotric engineering landmark" designation to an engine Pratt & Whitney first designed in the 1920s.

The ASME said it's recognizing the R-1340 Wasp A engine's historic technical significance in engineering and aviation.

The Wasp engine joins nearly 260 ASME landmarks around the world, only nine of them in Connecticut. That includes the Wright Flyer III in Dayton, Ohio, and the Hamilton Standard Hydromatic Propeller in Windsor Locks.

The engine was the first engine designed and built by Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies company, after its founding in 1925. The 1,340 cubic-inch radial air-cooled engine spawned a family of engines, including the Twin Wasp, Wasp Junior, Double Wasp and Wasp Major.

Pratt said it and its licensees built more than 363,000 engines in World War II, representing about 50 percent of the American Air Force's horsepower.

"Having the first engine in our company's innovative history recognized by the industry's leading engineering organization in the United States is a tribute to the small group of visionaries who built it and set the standard for Pratt & Whitney's dependable engines," said Tom Prete, vice president, Pratt & Whitney Engineering, in a statement.

Pratt and ASME will celebrate the historical landmark designation later this spring at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks. A plaque will be placed next to one of the first Wasp A development engines, on display at the museum.

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