The beginning of the aeronautical industry in Spain and the Wolff law (1916- 1929)


  • Antonio Gómez Mendoza
  • Santiago López García


During the period 1916-1929, the Spanish aeronautical industry was linked to the demand of military aircrafts. It had been created in a process of import substitution that was particularly intense during the First World War. At the beginning, this industry fried to achieve autarchy by developing its own technology but after 1923 the State decided to purchase foreign patents. The essay tries to assess the size this industry, and the resulting figures confirm its modest scale of operation due to the very low level of public finding. Nevertheless, the existence of this sector was the sign of a relative degree of modernization of the Spanish economy during the first thirty years of the twentieth century. The article argues that the fast assimilation of foreign techniques in the building and design of aircraftas and engines, and even the development of original models would not have been possible without a previous development the engineering industry. Lastly, the application of the Wolff law allows to suggest that the public sector lost an excellent chance to fasten some of the more competitive lines of this industry in the twenties. However, the technical transformations in the industry implied by the appearance of metallic aircrafts, and adverse circumstances in the international markets for military aircrafts condemned this industry to technical dependence on foreign firms.


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How to Cite

Gómez Mendoza, Antonio, and Santiago López García. 2022. “The Beginning of the Aeronautical Industry in Spain and the Wolff Law (1916- 1929)”. Revista De Historia Industrial — Industrial History Review, no. 1 (February):155-78.