After establishing the G.H. Curtiss Manufacturing Company in 1902, Curtiss received a motor order from a dirigible balloonist. From that point on, Curtiss did a great deal of business with balloonists and began making historical strides in the advancement of aeronautics. In 1907, Curtiss joined Alexander Graham Bell and his wife as the director of experiments when they founded the Aerial Experiment Association in Hammondsport, New York. Curtiss designed an airplane, named the June Bug, that took flight in 1908 and won several notable awards including the Scientific American trophy three times, the Gordon Bennett Cup and the Prix de la Vitesse.
Curtiss married Lena Neff at the age of 20 and had one child, Glenn. Born in Hammondsport, New York, Curtiss died in 1930 in Buffalo, New York. As an aviator and inventor, Curtiss generated over 70 patents during his lifetime, including designs for dirigibles, airplanes, flying boats, commercial aircraft, Navy planes, and the aileron, which is a device for maintaining the lateral balance of airplanes. He also created the Wasp, which held the world record for speed, climb and altitude.