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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.