Thomas-Morse Model 8, V-8 Engine


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

The Thomas brothers of Upstate New York began experimenting and flying Curtiss-type aircraft in 1908, and developed their own aircraft in the 1909-10 period. Thomas Brothers aircraft were supplied to the Allied nations during World War I. Airplane engines were built by the Thomas Aeromotor Company, which was later reorganized and became known as the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Corporation of Ithaca, New York. The company's first engine, a 4-cylinder vertical water-cooled design rated at 89.5 kW (120 shp), was produced in 1912. After that, the company confined its efforts entirely to 8-cylinder water-cooled V-types.

The Thomas-Morse Model 8 engine was fitted with reduction gears to reduce propeller speed to 1,200 rpm. It was the first aircraft engine to be equipped with a self-starter. It powered aircraft such as the Thomas D-5 and L.W.F.

Collection Item Long Description:



Inventory Number


Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, 8 cylinders, V-type,water-cooled
  • Power rating: 101 kW (135 hp) at 2,000 rpm
  • Displacement: 9.062 L (552.88 cu in.)
  • Bore and Stroke: 101.6 mm (4 in.) x 139.7 mm (5.5 in.)
  • Weight: 272 kg (600 lb)

Credit Line

Transferred from the War Department, Air Corps, Materiel Division, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio

Country of Origin

United States of America


Steel, Aluminum, Brass, Copper, Rubber, Stainless steel, Phenolic, Wood


Depth 111.8 cm (44 in.), Length 162.6 cm (64 in.), Width 96.5 cm (38 in.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

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


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary