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Lawrance L-3 Radial Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Lawrance L-3 Radial Engine

Collection Item Summary:

Engineer Charles L. Lawrance began developing air-cooled aircraft engines in 1914, and the Lawrance Aero Engine Corporation soon started to manufacture two-cylinder models on a small scale in New York City. The first of its three-cylinder designs, the Model B, appeared in 1916, followed by a series of three-cylinder radials-the L-2, L-3, L-4, and L-5-shortly after World War I. The L-series was an intermediate step toward Lawrance's milestone designs that culminated in the Wright Whirlwind radial engines of the mid-1920s. However, Lawrance lacked the financial resources to further develop his promising radial designs. But, through pressure from the U.S. Navy, Lawrance’s company was merged with Wright, resulting in one of the most successful American engine manufacturers of the twentieth century.

The U.S. Navy used this Lawrance L-3 to power its ultralight Naval Aircraft Factory SA-1 and Loening M-2 Kitten, which operated from aircraft carriers, battleships, and submarines in the early 1920s.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Lawrance Aero Engine Corp

Credit Line

Transferred from the U.S. Navy, Naval Supply Center, Cheatham Annex, Williamsburg, Virginia.


Diameter 49.5 cm (19.5 in.), Length 61 cm (24.0 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, Radial, 3 cylinders, air cooled
  • Power rating: 48 kW (65 hp) at 2,000 rpm
  • Displacement: 3.7 L (223 cu in)
  • Bore and Stroke: 108 mm (4.3 in.) x 133 mm (5.3 in.)
  • Weight: 66.9 kg (147 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number