GLEN L. MARTIN
Glenn Luther Martin (January 17, 1886 – December 5, 1955) was an early American aviation pioneer. He designed and built his own aircraft and was an active pilot, as well as an aviation record-holder. He founded an aircraft company in 1912 which through several mergers amalgamated into what is today known as Lockheed Martin.
Glenn L. Martin was born in Macksburg, Iowa, on January 17, 1886 to Minta and Clarence Martin. At the age of two, Martin's family moved to Salina, Kansas, so that his father could run a wheat farm. By age six, he became interested in kites, but at first his friends made fun of box-kites he built. When the kites flew well, people paid him twenty-five cents to build one for them. He turned his mother's kitchen into a "factory" to produce more kites. Martin also began using sails on everything from ice skates to wagons, and even his bicycle to move faster with less effort. He attended and studied business at Kansas Wesleyan in Salina, Kansas. In 1933, he received an honorary Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas Wesleyan University.
AVIATION CAREER BEGINS
As he grew up, he became fascinated with flight, first with kites, then later the Wright brothers' airplane. In 1909 he decided to build one himself based on the Curtiss June Bug, but it was destroyed on the first test flight. For his next effort, Martin used silk and bamboo in the aircraft's construction. This airplane made a short flight. Martin was often assisted by his mother Minta Martin holding a lamp in the building of his first few airplanes.
OVER WATER RECORD
On May 10, 1912, Martin flew a self-built seaplane from Newport Bay, California to Avalon on Catalina Island, then back across the channel. This broke the earlier English Channel record for over-water flight. Martin's total distance was 68 miles (109 km), with the Newport-Avalon leg taking 37 minutes. He picked up a bag of mail on the island on the way, and was presented with $100 ($2300 in 2011) prize for his achievement. In 1913, Martin was not as fortunate while competing in the Great Lakes Reliability Cruise, a 900 miles (1,400 km) race of seaplanes around the Great Lakes. Martin's pontoon hit a wave at high speed and low altitude, causing the plane to somersault, and sink to the bottom with Martin, who escaped and attempted to salvage the plane to finish the race.
In 1912, Martin built an airplane factory in an old Methodist church in Los Angeles, California. To make money to finance this business, he began stunt-flying at fairs and local airfields. He saw an advertisement for a pilot/airplane owner to play a role in a movie. Sensing an opportunity to market his airplanes, he replied to the ad and got the part of a dashing hero in the 1915 production A Girl of Yesterday starring Mary Pickford. Soon, however, Martin realized that film production was more difficult than he anticipated. In addition to flying Pickford around in his airplane, he had a scene where he had to kiss Frances Marion, who later became a legendary Hollywood screenwriter. Martin in describing his hesitance having to kiss Marion declared, "my mother would not like it" which astounded Pickford. He worked up the courage however after persuasion by Paramount boss Adolph Zukor and completed the scene.
Martin held a record for longest American over-water flight, 66 miles. His company designed aircraft for the military, including bombers for both world wars. An early success came during World War I with production of the MB-1 bomber. The MB-2 and others were also successful. In 1932, Martin won the Collier Trophy for his involvement with the Martin B-10 bomber.
He founded the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1912. In 1916 he merged his company with the original Wright Company, forming the Wright-Martin Aircraft Company. He soon left and founded a second Glenn L. Martin Company in 1917. That company merged with the American-Marietta Corporation in 1961, becoming the Martin Marietta Corporation. This company merged with the Lockheed Corporation in 1995, forming Lockheed Martin, a major U.S. aerospace and defense contractor. In the 1940s, towards the end of Martin's life, he and his beloved and now aged mother Minta were photographed touring the Martin facilities in Baltimore and celebrating Martin's success as one of the captains in the aviation industry. --WIKIPEDIA