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Fairchild - The History

The history of the Fairchild Corporation dates back to the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation founded by Sherman Mills Fairchild in 1920.  A few months before his death at the age of 74 in March 1971, the Smithsonian Institution honored him on the fiftieth anniversary of Fairchild as a leader in the aviation industry.

The Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation was the first of a number of aviation and aerospace companies to bear the Fairchild name.  In 1920, the invention of the first large, high speed, between-the-lens shutter for aerial cameras made accurate aerial mapping possible for the first time.  Fairchild completed the first aerial mapping of all five boroughs of New York City in 1924.

In the 1920's, commercial aviation was in its infancy, and in order to produce aircraft suitable for this industry, as well as for aerial surveying, Mr. Fairchild began the development and manufacture of airplanes which soon established him as the largest supplier of civilian transport aircraft in the country.  Fairchild developed the first commercially successful cabin monoplane built in the United States.  Between 1927 and 1930, the Fairchild Aviation Corporation delivered more than 300 of its FC-2 series and became the nation's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft of the period. 

Fairchild built the first aircraft specifically designed to airline specifications, the model 100-A Pilgrim which was built in 1931 for American Airways (now American Airlines).  Fairchild initially tested the first all-metal, semi-monocoque transport capable of exceeding 200 mph in 1932.  The first and only one of its kind, the XC-31 aircraft was designed to carry U. S. Army personnel,.  It was delivered to the Army  in 1936. 

In the early 1930's, Fairchild started development of the 6- and 12-cylinder Ranger series engines, which were the first air-cooled in-line engines featuring pressure cooling.  In 1935, Fairchild introduced the first successful radio compass, the Kreusi, more than 10,000 had been delivered by 1947.  In the Mid-1930's, Fairchild also pioneered the application of composite structures to airframe design and production.  The adhesive bonding processes and techniques are still followed in the manufacture of composite structures today.  Fairchild also developed the first nine-lens mapping camera for the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1936.

By 1938, Fairchild had become a major supplier to the U.S. Air Force, building engines and pursuit-type trainers.  Fairchild went on to develop many successful civilian and military aircraft including the P-47 Thunderbolt, the C-119 cargo carrier and gunship, the F-105 Thunderchief and the A-10 Thunderbolt II.  The Fairchild PT-19 was the first practical low-wing primary military trainer and won an Air Corps competition over 17 other aircraft in 1939.  More than 8,000 PT-19s were built for the military services of U. S. and allied nations during World War II.  In 1941, Fairchild developed the First lead computing gunsight for aircraft for installation on B-24 bombers.  Development of the complex and widely used photographic, multiple-exposure flight analyzer for accurate recording and measurement of aircraft flight paths camera was started in the 1930s.  It was finally completed in the late 1940s.

The Fairchild C-82 and C-119 series pioneered the large-scale aerial delivery of military equipment and supplies and was the first successful military transport specifically designed to accommodate the post-World War II concept of an all-air Army.  Fairchild developed the first integrated, pod-mounted photo reconnaissance system for use on the B-58 bomber.  Fairchild started production of the F-27 in 1957, the first  U.S.-produced turbine-powered airliner to enter commercial service, and delivered 206 of the F-27, FH-227 series to U. S. airlines.

In the mid 1960's, the company undertook the building of satellites for NASA, and its name changed to Fairchild Hiller to reflect the acquisition of Hiller Aircraft.  Shortly thereafter, the company acquired Republic Aviation, a major manufacturer of military aircraft.  In the 1970's, its corporate identity became Fairchild Industries, Inc., when the decision was made  to pursue a strategy of diversifying its operations.

Through the 1970's and early 80's, Fairchild continued to grow its many divisions and subsidiaries, including major ventures in communications, space, commercial and military aviation, and several industrial markets.  In the mid 80's, Fairchild sold its aircraft-manufacturing divisions and focused its resources on aerospace and industrial components.

Banner Industries, Inc. acquired Fairchild Industries in 1989 and changed its name to The Fairchild Corporation in 1990.  This signaled a new era in the growth of the company,  By that time, events in the evolution of what had been a small Cleveland-based company called Banner Hardware Jobbing Company founded in 1956, which, through internal growth and the judicious management of numerous acquisitions, had become a diversified, international corporation.

Beginning in the 1960's, Banner acquired numerous companies in a wide range of businesses, from motor freight, ceramic tile, a foundry, a locomotive company, plastics, to aircraft parts and industrial fasteners.  But when Jeffrey Steiner became Banner's Chairman and CEO in 1985, the pace accelerated and Banner soon became a major international corporation.  In 1987, the company acquired Rexnord and in 1988, its competitor in the power transmission components industry, P.T. Components, the owner of Link Belt.

In conformance with its extremely successful management philosophy, Banner kept those Fairchild operations which it believed would fit best with its core businesses, in the aviation, communications and capital goods markets and sold Fairchild's space and defense oriented businesses. 

Recently, Fairchild's interests have focused on fasteners, parts distribution to the aviation after market, power transmission products, telecommunication and other industrial products such as tooling for the plastics industry.  Its position in the aircraft fastener business was further strengthened by the Fairchild acquisition, when Fairchild's Aerospace Fastener Division was combined with Rexnord's Specialty Fastener Division.

During the calendar years 1997 and 1998, a ground-up restructuring of the company was completed to meet unparalleled growth and innovation goals.  Many novel and unique concepts for enhancing customer relationships have been established.  Our sales and marketing team created full service offices providing: technical design; sales operations; logistical support as well as technical support for the life of the product.

A cutting-edge CAD/CAM manufacturing program utilizing SolidWorks and the GuildemeisterŪ system now allow all Fairchild manufacturing units the ability to seamlessly produce customer orders on a worldwide basis, using the same specifications and quality assurance systems.

Recent acquisitions of Simmonds and Mecaero have established Fairchild as the market leader in Europe for nuts and bolts.  The acquisition in 1999 of  SNEP further enhances Fairchild French operations.  Fairchild's emphasis on logistics support for customers has been enhanced by the acquisition of Special-T Fasteners in the United States and AS+C in Germany.

In 1999, Fairchild Fasteners acquired Kaynar Technologies Inc. (KTI), a major national market leader and supplier of a diversified line of aerospace, automotive and industrial fasteners, components and tools. Included in the purchase were companies and divisions producing over 10,000 different products which are being integrated into the Fairchild Fasteners family for optimal productivity and cost effective manufacturing practices. KTI was comprised of Kaynar Manufacturing, Microdot and K-FAST Assembly Tool Systems. In 1996, Recoil Pty. Ltd. of Australia was purchased by KTI. Microdot/Recoil groups combined expanding automotive and industrial sales and distribution throughout Australia, Asia, U.S. and Europe. Aerospace Precision Systems (APS) of Anaheim, California, a manufacturer of automated aircraft fastening machines, was purchased by KTI in 1997. M&M Machine and Tool Company of Huntington Beach, California, a forty-year-old sub-contractor in the aerospace industry, was acquired by KTI in 1998. Marson Corporation, of Stoughton, Massachusetts, a forty-two year old manufacturer of a broad line of rivets, inserts and tools, was purchased by KTI in 1998. Eagle Enterprises of La Habra, California, a manufacturer of fluid fittings for the aerospace industry, was acquired by KTI in 1998.

Copyright 2009
The Fairchild Corporation

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