The concept of an MIT Gas Turbine Laboratory was formulated not long after the first jet engines were successfully run. After the end of World War II, Professor J.C. Hunsaker [US aviation pioneer, member of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, and first MIT Ph.D. in aeronautics (1916)] brought together a group of American industries who donated funds for the construction of a laboratory devoted to jet propulsion. A plaque commemorating the donations still hangs in the main laboratory (behind the blowdown turbine):
- Curtiss-Wright Corporation
- General Electric Company
- General Machinery Corporation
- United Aircraft Corporation
- United States Navy
- Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Professor E.S. Taylor, first director of the Gas Turbine Laboratory, opened the GTL on October 7, 1947.