Laird Airplane Co.
E.M. Laird Co
Laird, who first learned to fly in 1913 from an empty field between Cicero Avenue and 52nd Street, north of 22nd Avenue, built a few promising airplanes at this location before going to Wichita.
Emil Matthew "Mattie" Laird built his first Model S aircraft in 1919.
The E.M. Laird Company of Wichita started operation as a partnership in 1920. Bill Burke, an Oklahoma Buick automobile dealer, asked Matty Laird to leave Chicago and come to Wichita to build airplanes. Bill Burke put up one half of the capital needed ($15,000) to start the company. The other partners were Jack Mollendeck, a Wichita oil man who contributed the remaining $15,000, Matty Laird, and his brother Charlie, who provided the design and technical know-how to build the airplanes.
Commercial activity at Chicago began in 1920 with the Swallow, a redesigned Curtiss JN-4, claimed as first U.S. commercial aircraft. Design sold to Lloyd Stearman's Swallow Aeroplane Manufacturing Company as the New Swallow.
In 1921, Walter Beech, who had barnstormed in a Jenny after WWI, joined the company to assist Laird in testing the aircraft. Also in 1921, Lloyd Stearman joined the company to assist in the design, assembly, and rigging work on the Swallow.
In 1921, Bill Burke left the company and returned to his Buick automobile dealership. In 1923, Matty Laird left the company, returning to his former Chicago location to build the Laird Speed Wing.
Built the first LC (Laird Commercial) 1924. Also designed Super Swallow, an improved New Swallow. Laird concentrated subsequently on custom-built sporting and racing aircraft, such as LC-DW Solution, the only biplane to win the Thomson Trophy.
The E.M. Laird Company did not survive and went into receivership on 13 August 1927.
In 1931 Super Solution Jimmy Doolittle set U.S. coast-to-coast records. With same aircraft set record of 293.193mph (471.8kmh) at 1932 National Air Races. Production continued of threeseat Speedwing biplane. Last project was in 1936, redesigning and completing ex-Lawrence Brown racer for Colonel Roscoe Turner, as LTR 14 Meteor.