Designed and built late in 1917 by the Standard Aircraft Company of Newark, New Jersey, the E-1 was intended to be an "Airfield Defense Fighter". There was little wrong with the design except that, by the time the prototype flew, it was already obsolete by current European standards. It might have been a very formidable fighter in early 1916 but, by 1918, it would have been regarded as under-powered and under-armed. By that time the state-of-the-art had simply advanced beyond aircraft of this sort.
Nevertheless, the Army Air Service ordered the airplane for use as an advanced fighter trainer. 93 were delivered with 100-hp Gnome rotary engines, and another 75 powered by 80-hp Le Rhone rotary engines.