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Textron Inc. is a multi-industry conglomerate with a worldwide network of aircraft, defense, industrial, and finance businesses.

Textron was started by Royal Little in 1923 as the Special Yarns Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts. It became the Atlantic Rayon Company and prospered during World War II, in part due to its parachute-manufacturing contracts with the U.S. Army. It renamed itself Textron in 1943 to emphasize its production of synthetic fabrics. After the war, it diversified into fabric-related household products and clothing and began acquiring nontextile companies beginning in 1953.

In 1960, Textron purchased Bell Aircraft, the makers of Bell Helicopters, for $32 million. The three divisions of Bell Aircraft—Bell Helicopter, Bell Aerosystems, and Hydraulic Research—were combined into Bell Aerospace. Today, Textron’s Bell Division manufactures advanced military helicopters and ...

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