Pratt & Whitney's first engine honored as historic engineering landmark

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has designated Pratt & Whitney´s R-1340 Wasp A engine as a historic engineering landmark, recognizing its technical significance in engineering and aviation.

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

The Wasp engine was the first engine designed and built by Pratt & Whitney after its founding in 1925. The 1340 cubic-inch radial air-cooled engine achieved levels of performance unheard of in its day. The original Wasp engine spawned a family of engines: Twin Wasp, Wasp Junior, Double Wasp and Wasp Major, powering dozens of aircraft. In World War II alone Pratt & Whitney and its licensees built more than 363,000 engines providing nearly 609,000,000 horsepower, about half the power required by the American air forces.

The original Wasp engine was designed to meet a Navy requirement for a powerful, light weight, 400 horsepower engine for planes that would equip its then recently-launched aircraft carriers, USS. Lexington and USS. Saratoga.

The original Pratt & Whitney team of about 20 people set to work and by Christmas Eve 1925 the first Wasp engine was completed. At the time it was thought that the red line for a radial engine was about 1800 rpm. The Wasp engine could reach 1900 rpm in normal operation and 2400 rpm in a dive. company founder Frederick Rentschler was not a man given to hyperbole, but his pride was evident as years later in his memoir he recalled that day.

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

Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines and auxiliary power units. United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high-technology systems and services to the building and aerospace industries.