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Making Jet Engines in World War IIBritain, Germany, and the United States$
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Hermione Giffard

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226388595

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226388625.001.0001

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The Aero-Engine Industry and Turbojet Development

The Aero-Engine Industry and Turbojet Development

(p.69) Chapter Two The Aero-Engine Industry and Turbojet Development
Making Jet Engines in World War II

Hermione Giffard

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on development and details the consequences for early jet engine designs of the involvement of existing aero-engine companies in creating jet engines. In contrast to the now dominant interpretation of Edward Constant, which sees the jet engine arising outside of a conservative aero-engine industry that opposed it, this chapter emphasizes the ways in which the jet engine was made possible by continuity – by the expertise of the existing aero-engine industry. Studying each of Britain and Germany’s aero-engine firms sequentially and in detail, the chapter examines the relationship between piston engines and jet engines and argues that the aero-engine industry was the natural place for these engines to be developed. Importantly, it offers an extensive account of how Rolls-Royce entered the new field of engine design. The chapter argues that it was not only familiarity with elements of the new engines, but also firms’ organizational and methodological abilities that crucially shaped the first jet engines. Through detailed technical comparison, the chapter emphasizes that the first jet engines were not identical, but very particular machines that reflected the particular settings in which they were made.

Keywords:   industry, development, expertise, Rolls-Royce, De Havilland Engine Company, Bristol Aeroplane Company, Amstrong Siddeley Motors, Junkers Aircraft Company, BMW, Daimler-Benz

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