The year 2007 marks the 60th year in existence for Allen Aircraft.
In 1947, Allen Aircraft was a vision in the eye of Neil Mann.
While working at Wright Airfield in Dayton after World War ll,
Neil had the idea for a more efficient drop-tank valve to be used
on the government's long range military aircraft.
Returning to his hometown of Ravenna, he set up shop in the corner
office of a friend, George Walter. With the aid of another friend,
Hugh Riddle, Neil was able to design and manufacture his valve. To
raise capital for future ventures and ideas, Neil and Hugh
organized Allen Aircraft Products, Inc. (named in memory of
Douglas Allen Mann) and sold 80 shares of stock to investors in
the Ravenna community.
Our first order was from Boeing for a drop tank disconnect valve
for use on the B-50 Bomber which was an upgrade of the B-29. Over
the years our #1 customer has continued to be Boeing with parts on
all Boeing Commercial Aircraft since the 707, as well as on all
military aircraft including the B-52.
In 1949, the development and manufacture of a new line of valves
and the addition of a patented solid film lubricant, which was the
beginning of our Metal Finishing Division, caused Allen to move
into a 1,200 square foot facility at Cotton Corners, a building
that was formerly the Vicker Trailer Agency on the comer of
Woodbine Avenue and Newton Falls Road. In 1952, Allen doubled its
size by the construction of an office addition. By this time, the
company had developed more than 50 different products for the
aircraft industry. In addition to the drop tank valve, the line
had grown to pressure relief valves for hydraulic systems, drain
valves for fuel tanks, oxygen couplers for unpressurized cabins,
landing gear, and other hydraulic actuators.
By 1962, Allen Aircraft expanded its operations for the fifth time
at this location by constructing a new 6,000 square foot building,
onto the existing one at Newton Falls Road. Along with this
expansion. Allen's ranks had grown to 60 employees. Also at this
time. Allen had become the world's only manufacturer of the
automatic fuel transfer jet pump. During the war, pilots had to
manually throw a switch in the cockpit to activate an electric
motor driven pump to transfer fuel from one tank to another. With
the development of this new pump, aircraft could become lighter,
more reliable and less expensive.
In 1968, 1970, 1974, 1975, and again in 1976, Allen Aircraft was
nominated for the "Small Business Subcontractor of the Year"
award, which was presented by the U.S. Government's Small Business
Administration. Of the 12,000 capable small business
subcontractors in the Mid-Atlantic Region, Allen was one of only
20 to receive this consideration.
In 1978, Allen Aircraft again felt the need for growth and
promptly fulfilled this need by purchasing the former Ravenna
Porcelain Company building on East Lake Street. The 13,000 square
foot plant and its seven acre site was acquired from the A.C.
Williams Company to house Allen's manufacturing facilities. The
expansion resulted in approximately eight more jobs with the
company and increased the total employment to more that 80
As time continued, so did the demand of the aircraft industry. In
1985, Allen Aircraft paved the way for yet another expansion by
the purchase and rehabilitation of the building at 6168 Woodbine
Avenue. Several divisions of the company were relocated to this
facility to enable a centralization of the company. Among the
departments now operating there are: Engineering, Sales,
Accounting, Purchasing, Personnel, Data Processing; also, Aircraft
Assembly, Shipping, Labs, and Quality Control.
In 1987, Allen Aircraft continued it's role as a successful
supplier of aircraft components by being awarded a contract for
the B1 bomber. Allen received a two million dollar contract to
manufacture more than 20 different components for the aircraft.
In 1988, Allen Aircraft was presented with the McDonnell Aircraft
Company's "Preferred Supplier Quality Team Award" This prestigious
award signified that Allen Aircraft continued to maintain an
excellent quality system and superior quality products in the eyes
of the industry.
In 1990, Allen Aircraft became a key supplier in the very
secretive and much talked about B-2 advanced technical "Stealth"
bomber. All in all. Allen's check valves, jet pumps, ball selector
valves, and float valves represent a significant portion of the
B-2 fuel delivery system.
By 1994, Boeing was developing the 777 which was the first
aircraft designed solely with the use of computers. Allen was a
big part of this development with a number of new products in the
fuel and water systems on board the aircraft.
In 1997,Allen purchased a product line of chip detectors, oil
level indicators, and sight gauges from Lisle Corporation of
Clarinda, Iowa. These products will add 25% sales growth to our
aircraft products business and represent new market penetration
with aircraft engine manufacturers and major aircraft subsystem
Chip detector assembly was located in our building at 6145
Woodbine Avenue which was formerly a storage facility for our
Metal Finishing business. September 19, 1997 marked the first
shipment of chip detectors from Allen.
Throughout the 1990's Allen's most significant expansion has come
in the way of equipment and utilization of that equipment. The
combination of some of the latest technology in CNC machines along
with quick change tooling and cellular techniques have made our
machine shop one of the most capable in the area.
The 1990's have also been a time of strategic alliances with major
customers. Today, Allen enjoys long term relationships with
companies such as Boeing, Douglas, Lockheed, Raytheon (Beech),
Bombardier, Israel Aircraft, as well as with other original
aircraft manufacturers and all airlines world wide. These
relationships secure our long term interests in the aircraft
community and forms the basis of our commitment for continuous
improvement in all the things we do.
In 2007 Allen completed a 25,000 square foot plant expansion at
it's 6168 Woodbine Avenue facility. Nine production cells of three
workers each along with new assembly and testing equipment
encompass this facility. The expansion resulted in 20 production
jobs with the company and increased the total employment to 160
The ground work of Metal Finishing started in 1949. Certain
components required the need for dry film lubricant, which was
being performed by Electrofilm Corporation, located in California.
Allen was required to send their parts all the way to California
for this operation. This was not only expensive but consumed
enormous amounts of time just in shipping. The idea was set into
motion to get the approval for Allen to perform this operation in
house and eliminate this time factor. A person was hired and sent
to California to learn how this process was performed and Allen
received the license to perform dry film by Electrofilm. Since
parts had to be pretreated before this application could be
applied, small phosphate tanks were installed in a small area in
the southwest comer of the existing building on Newton Falls road.
Next came anodizing. Since most of the valve components were made
of aluminum they needed to be anodized to protect the base
material from corrosion. There was a lack of a good Anodizers that
could provide the quality of service that Allen required;
therefore, small anodizing tanks were installed in the same area
as the phosphate tanks and in-house processing began.
Allen had to be approved by all Aircraft Manufacturers to do
Anodizing and Phosphating. Once approved, this became a major
attraction for other companies in the Akron Cleveland Area. In
response to this expanded customer list an addition was
constructed in 1960 that provided increased processing
capabilities to other companies. Larger tanks were installed to do
Hard Anodizing, Sulfuric Anodizing, Chromic Anodizing, Manganese
and Zinc Phosphate. Chemfilm and Cadplating were added to the
The Metal Finishing Department has processed a wide variety of
items over the many years it has been in existence. There were
military components such as track adjusters, periscopes, and
wheels for tanks. In addition, landing gear, body structure parts,
door skins, pumps, and other components served both Military and
Commercial Aircraft. Allen also provides coating for the Space
Shuttle program as well as other programs for NASA. The Mark
46,48, and 50 Torpedoes for the Navy were among the largest
programs in which Allen Metal Finishing was involved. Also, the
Mark 30 unmanned submarine was anodized by Allen. In the
commercial field, items such as warmer plates for coffee makers,
machining vises, bus shelter structure parts, hot melt glue
components, pneumatic valves, food processing equipment, and fuel
transferring components for ships are just a partial list of items
that have been processed by the Metal Finishing Division.
In 1974, another addition was added to expand the Anodizing
capabilities and today Metal Finishing consumes the entire Newton
Falls road facility. Allen Aircraft Metal Finishing is known as
one of the best processing houses in the United States. It has
achieved this goal by everyone's total commitment to quality,
service, and continuous improvement.