Among the most successful early engines marketed in the United States were those designed and built by aviation pioneer and inventor Glenn Curtiss. Early Curtiss engines of one and later two cylinders were designed to power motorcycles. In 1904 a two-cylinder, V-type engine-believed to be the first Curtiss aircraft engine-was modified to power Capt. Thomas S. Baldwin's California Arrow. In 1905 the twin-cylinder motorcycle engine was developed into a more powerful airship engine, designated A-2, which powered many early American dirigibles.
This 1909 A-2 engine was purchased in 1910 from the R. O. Rubel, Jr. & Co., the southern distributor for Curtiss motorcycles and engines, by Mr. James Campbell of Easthampton, Massachusetts. Campbell used it in a Curtiss-type aircraft that he designed and constructed. Campbell's aircraft may have been the only heavier-than-air aircraft to use the A-2 engine.