Well, it had crossed my mind to get to bed early tonight, but it was worth the watch.
Being ossified is how USian companies become Shiny. I have told the stories before about the pump seal company, and Radio Shack, where I saw exactly the same attitude as at Douglas, on the part of those company’s top honchos. So, one you may not have heard of before.
In the 1930s and early 40s, Curtiss-Wright was a major player in both military airframes and engines. During the war, their two new products, the SB2C and C-46 both ran into major development problems, because Curtiss would not put enough engineering talent on the project. Meanwhile, their engine plant near Cincinnati had a major scandal as company managers bribed Army inspectors to pass defective engines that were destined for installation in combat aircraft.
After the war, Curtiss competed for one more Air Force contract. Lost out to another company, and exited the airframe business. Their huge new plant in St Louis was sold to McDonnell, and McDonnell went on to great success in the following decades.
In the 50s, Wright radial engines owned the commercial market. Both the Lockheed Constellation and DC-7 used Wright engines. The engine division started experimenting with jets. The President of C-W, and representatives of the jet engine program went to the board to show what they were working on, and ask for serious funding to expand their work. Not only did the Board not increase jet engine funding, they told the engine division men they didn’t want a nickle spent on jet engines and didn’t want to hear about jets again. The President of C-W, who realized jets were the coming thing, started making plans to move on, as he knew that, with that Board, C-W was doomed.
That huge new engine plant near Cincinnati, that had the scandal under C-W management, was sold to GE and became the headquarters of GE’s jet engine division.