Walter Kidde & Company Aviation Photograph Collection 1930-1950


Collection Item Summary:

This collection consists of approximately 350 photographs, negatives, and illustrations, dating from the 1930s through the 1940s, from the Walter Kidde & Company archive. Subjects include Kidde fire suppression and air flotation systems, and military, commercial, and general aviation aircraft of the period. The collection also includes thirty-three photographs and transparencies made by aviation photographer Rudy Arnold (1902-1966).

Collection Item Long Description:


  • Aeronautics
  • Fire extinction
  • Aircraft supplies industry

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions on access


Walter Kidde & Company


Arnold, Rudy 1902-1966

Physical description

.54 cubic feet (2 boxes)


  • 1930
  • 1930-1950


Walter Kidde & Company was founded in 1917 by Walter Kidde (1877-1943). Initially established as a construction company, Kidde moved to fire suppression systems, introducing the first portable carbon dioxide fire extinguisher in 1924. In 1926, the Kidde Company, working with the US Navy, developed a fire prevention system for aircraft engines. A branch of the company was founded in the United Kingdom in 1935. The company experienced large growth during World War II. After Walter Kidde's death in 1943, the company was headed by his son, John Kidde. The British company Williams Holdings acquired Kidde in 1988. In 1989, Kidde merged with another Williams Holdings company, Graviner, to form Kidde Graviner. Williams Holdings spun off Kidde in 2000. It was acquired by United Technologies Corporation in 2005, and, merging with other UTC companies, became UTC Fire & Security.

Cite as

Walter Kidde & Company Aviation Photograph Collection, Accession 2014-0021, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Photographs
  • Collection descriptions

Local number