Last updated: December 5, 2022
East Hartford, Connecticut
Since before World War II, East Hartford, Connecticut has been synonymous with Pratt & Whitney — a significant designer and manufacturer of piston aircraft engines. In 1929 the company relocated its factories to a 1100-acre tract in East Hartford, which included hangers and a runway for aircraft testing. With thousands of new employees needed to meet the demand caused by the war effort, East Hartford’s population grew — tripling between 1929 and 1950 — and the city literally grew up around it.
After the fall of France in 1940, Pratt & Whitney increased its production rates and expanded facilities. Factory employment grew from 3,000 to 40,000 workers. Over 360,000 engines were produced at East Hartford and other plants by war’s end. Pratt & Whitney engines powered roughly 70 different military aircraft, including the Corsair, the Hellcat, the Thunderbolt, the Liberator, the Devastator, the Catalina, the Ventura, the C-46, the C-47, and the C-54.
The community includes a memorial at Martin Park that lists the names of local servicemen killed in action during the war.