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Interpreting the Evidence

List of New York Contractors for Aircraft Supplies

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load List of New York Contractors for Aircraft Supplies, World War I, February 24, 191[7] in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
List of contractors in New York who supplied components for making aircraft during World War I.
Historical Context
This document lists in detail the aircraft components that were produced by each contractor.  All of these contractors were located in New York.  When the United States entered the war, its air power was weak.  Then, in July 1917, Congress appropriated a hefty $675 million to build an air force.  During peak production late in 1918, the U.S. aircraft industry employed more than 200,000 people.
The aircraft changed the modern battlefield.  The early airplanes were used by both sides only for scouting. The period between 1914 and 1918 saw not only tremendous production, but also tremendous development in aircraft technology.  Early dogfights, or individual air combats, resembled duels.  At first pilots sat in their open cockpits and shot at each other with pistols.  It was difficult to fly a plane and shoot a pistol at the same time, so planes began carrying machine guns.  The planes' propeller blades often got in the way of the bullets. The Germans introduced an interrupter gear that permitted the stream of bullets to avoid the blades.
Later in the war, airplanes were built to travel faster and carry heavy bomb loads.  
Essential Question
How does war impact industry?
Check for Understanding
Explain the effects of World War I on the contractors listed in the document using evidence from the document to support your answer.
Historical Challenges
Create a poster that illustrates the changes in aircraft technology during World War I.
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a letter, from the perspective of an American pilot during World War I. Describe your experiences in a dog fight.