Aircraft construction ceased in the early 1920s after the company was unable to develop competitive models. The company initially continued to manufacture the two Hispano-Suiza engines. However, they were converted to inch measurements, further developed and sold under the names Wright E2 and Wright H3 . A V-engine with twelve cylinders with the designation Wright T3 Tornado was derived from this engine, which attracted attention with its then outstanding output of 675 PS (497 kW). Other products were a six-cylinder engine for use in ships of the US Navy and further developments of the Liberty engine . In 1923, the American authorities announced that in future they would only install air-cooled engines in their aircraft in order to avoid the sensitive and fault-prone water cooling system.
Wright himself had developed the air-cooled radial engine Wright R-1 from 1919 , but it was too heavy and did not deliver enough power. Samuel D. Heron revised the cylinder heads of the R-1 in 1922, but the engine could not be manufactured economically and was therefore not sold.
Wright Aeronautical acquired Lawrance Aero Engine Corporation on May 15, 1923 , whose founder, Charles Lanier Lawrance , was now chief engineer at Wright Aeronautical. He had brought the designs for two air-cooled radial engines Lawrance-J and Lawrance-L. The Lawrance J-1 nine-cylinder radial engine, which was ordered by the US Navy but was unreliable , initially became the Wright J-3 after a few modifications . Despite all the progress, the engine was not completely satisfactory and so the Wright J-4 was developed, which received modified cylinder heads and was presented in 1924. This engine, which was called Whirlwind for the first time , was a complete success.
In 1925, the previous head of engine development, Frederick Brant Rentschler , and his employees George J. Mead , Andy Willgoos , Charles Marks and John Borrup left the company and began the aero engine development at Pratt & Whitney, which is still ongoing today. Lawrance then became the company's CEO .
Samuel D. Heron filled the void and designed new cylinder heads for the J-4 in 1925. The resulting Wright J-5 now met all requirements and became one of the most reliable engines of its time. Charles Lindbergh's machine had a Wright J-5 engine when it first crossed the Atlantic. Companies in many countries, such as Canada, France, Poland and Japan, acquired the reproduction rights and produced the engine in large numbers. The company itself built no fewer than 1,597 Whirlwinds in 1928 .
As early as 1925, the seven-cylinder Wright J-6 engine, which had a larger bore than the J-5, was presented. By the mid-1940s, three variants with five, seven and nine cylinders were built by Wright and then by the successor company Curtiss-Wright with the designations Wright R-540 , Wright R-760 and Wright R-975 . Continental Motors manufactured the R-975 in a version with forced cooling to power the American M4 Sherman tank .