During World War II, the Eclipse plant in Elmira Heights was part of the United States’ “arsenal for democracy.” Eclipse started making bicycles and coaster brakes at the plant in 1895. In 1938, the company became a division of the Bendix Aviation Corp. and began the switch from producing bicycle parts and engine starters to ordnance for the war effort. Over the course of the war, Eclipse Machine Division produced anti-aircraft shells, automatic time fuzes for the anti-aircraft shells, and 20mm aircraft cannons. It also continued to make Bendix starter drives for military vehicles, as well as, aircraft magnetos and fuel injection pumps for the B-29 Super-Fortress.
|Eclipse Machine Division executives, 1943|
|Eclipse employee packing fuzes in a crate, 1942|
In 1941, Eclipse opened a modern air-conditioned plant with over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space to meet the high demand for its wartime products. Employees at the new plant built 5,000 Army mechanical time fuzes and 3,000 Navy fuzes each day. Eclipse was the first company to mass produce the intricate automatic time fuzes that exploded anti-aircraft shells at desired altitudes. Three shifts of works produced the fuzes around the clock. By the end of the war, Eclipse had produced over 23 million of them.
|Eclipse plant in Elmira Heights|
|Automatic time fuzes produces by Eclipse|
|Army-Navy "E" award ceremony|
|Army-Navy "E" banner|
|"E" award pin|