Viewing page 115 of 122

Shell Oil Company

[[image No. 157 - black & white photograph of a Shell fuel truck parked next to an airplane]]

Shell Oil Company's most notable contributions to aviation began soon after Jimmy Doolittle became aviation manager in 1930. Despite the depression and only modest gains in the expansion of commercial aviation, the company took a gamble and developed methods for the practical manufacture of iso-octane, the basis for 100-octane gasoline. Doolittle, however, did not sit at the manager's desk all the time. In 1931 he was winner of the Bendix Trophy, and in 1932, winner of the Thompson Trophy. Some of the major awards at the National Air Races were the Shell Speed Dashes, open to men and women.  Anticipating the jet age, Shell established the first major research laboratory for turbine fuel investigations, and pioneered a new array of fuel-handling equipment and techniques vital to the unusual cleanliness demands of the jets.  Shell petroleum chemists has provided other significant contributions to include corrosion and oxidation inhibitors, and antistatic additive formulations. For nearly two score years, Shell has been the nations' largest supplier of commercical aviation fuels.

[[image - drawing of a propeller]]

TRW Incorporated

[[image No. 158 - black & white photograph of the Thompson Trophy]]

Charles Edwin Thompson conceived and sponsored the Thompson Trophy Race of the National Air Races. His purpose was to establish the world's high speed land plane classic, as testimony to the aircraft valves his company manufactured.  When he died in 1933, Thompson Products, Inc., continued the award. The contest for the greatly prized trophy was a free-for-all, open to any type of airplane equipped with any type of motor or motors. The company pioneered in the young science of metallurgy, and by the mid-1920s had a revolutionary hollow-chemically-cooled valve that powered the Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic. Thompson went on to pioneer fuel and booster pumps. In 1953, Thompson financed two unique talents, Dr. Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge, and established an electronics and space affiliate that grew into Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation. Happily, the "new" historical heritage of TRW has remained. In 1965, the Thompson Trophy winner flew at 2,062 miles an hour--a long way down the skyroad from Charlie Thompson's first winner in 1929, at 195 m.p.h.

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact