AKA: American Interplanetary Society;American Rocket Society.
The American Interplanetary Society, later the American Rocket Society (ARS), was founded in New York City in April 1930 by David Lasser, G. Edward Pendray, Fletcher Pratt, and nine others, for the "promotion of interest in and experimentation toward interplanetary expeditions and travel.". The ARS launched a series of small experimental rockets in the 1930's.
They first attempted to copy the VfR Mirak rocket, based on the demonstration they saw in Berlin in 1931. This ARS-1 was destroyed in ground tests. The ARS-2 used liquid oxygen and gasoline propellants, and was successfully launched on 4 May 1933. However the rocket veered after takeoff, reaching only 75 m altitude.
Reaction Motors, Inc., generally called RMI, was founded in 1941 by a handful of veterans of the Americal Rocket Society including James Wyld, Lovell Lawrence, and John Shesta, and undertook to build a JATO unit. They first used liquid oxygen - all the ARS work had been with that oxidizer - and gasoline. But they found that the combination was too hot, and burned out their motors. So, as the gasoline entered the chamber, they mixed it with water through a metering valve. Combustion was smoother, and the motor stayed in one piece. This was a somewhat less elegant solution to the problem of combustion temperatures than was that used by the VfR (and Peenemuende) when they mixed water with their alcohol fuel. The RMI unit was successfully flown in the PBM in 1943. During the trials, run on the Severn River, the exhaust jet set the tail of the seaplane on fire, but the test pilot rose (or sank) to the occasion and set the plane down, tail first on the water in the manner of an old time movie comedian with his coattails on fire, seating himself hurriedly in a washtub full of water, with appropriate hissing noises and clouds of steam.