Morse Chain Factory

Ithaca's Early Aviation History

Morse Chain Factory

Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: Ithaca Heritage


In 1906, the Morse Chain Company built an 80,000-square-foot plant on this site on South Aurora Street. Between 1914 and 1916, the factory quadrupled in size. In 1916, the Thomas-Morse airplane division, the Thomas-Morse Airplane Corporation, was created. The company built the Thomas S-4 Scout for the U.S. Army. The next year the company designed the MB-3 fighter plane, the first of its kind designed in the United States. (Unfortunately, the company didn’t win the contract to produce the model.) The Morse Chain Company occupied the factory buildings on this site until 1928, at which point it became known as BorgWarner. BorgWarner stayed at the plant until 1982, when it moved to its current location on Warren Road. Emerson Power Transmission used the factory from 1983 until the plant closed in 2011. As of 2024 the site is currently in the process of being converted to a multi-use development called the Chain Works District.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Ithaca's Early Aviation History


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