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Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

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Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

Old 07-02-2003, 12:43 AM
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Bob Lloyd
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Default Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

I thought some of you old-timers out there would like this story. Back when I was a kid in Philly I liked to build solid wood models that came in kits that I would buy at the drugstore. They were made by a company called "Megow". I was about 9 years old, and the year was around 1935. One day while walking a few blocks outside of our neighborhood, my friend Calvin and I came across a big brick factory with "MEGOW" written across it. We were on cloud nine just looking at the building. It was during the depression and we would walk around the building several times, our minds delirious thinking about the stuff inside. Then one day Calvin and I were entertaining ourselves routing through the City Dump, as we did every week, when suddenly a big truck pulls up with "MEGOW" on the side of it and dumps out a load of balsa wood! We almost soiled ourselves! We were scrambling around grabbing up everything we could-- we thought we had found the Comstock Load!!! We got almost every piece of it right before the dump workers set the trash piles on fire. After that, we checked the dump often for new Megow additions.
Old 07-02-2003, 03:39 AM
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Art S.
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Default Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

Hi Bob,

Your Megow story sparked a memory for me that made me smile this evening. That because I have a similar story, but not about Megow. I was raised in Jersey City, NJ where I became addicted to model airplanes at an early age.

Jersey City was a wonderful place for a youngster to try his hand at model airplanes -- lots of empty lots for u-control, Lincoln Park for free flight and many, many boys trying to learn about things that fly. We were not far from Polks in New York City, Berkeley in Brooklyn or Scientific and Bambergers in Newark.

However, my story is not about JC, even though we boasted about the master in that proud city in 1939; Frank Ehling.

Rather, the parallel to your story about Megow.

Our early efforts were as others across the country -- 10 cent kits by a variety of manufacturers, a move to free flight kits such as the Buccaneer, Pacer, Zomby. Brooklyn Dodger. Most of us built kits for these designs but did not have the funds for engines to power them. A big thrill was gliding distance contests on summer evenings with rocks residing in the front for balance. We would toss the airplanes in an open area to see who had the longest glide. It was great fun. My best effort was with a Buccaneer B Special.

Anyway, it wasn't long before the u-control bug hit and my little group that included Jimmy Diebert, Johnny Hyll and John Diehl joined the round and round group. We all looked forward to the day we could afford a "Fireball". In the interim we built most of the Stanzel airplanes, the Shark series. By that time we all had an Ohlsson 23 or 19. Johnny Hyll was king of the hill, he had an Ohlsson 60.

Then we discovered the "mother lode" for all Jersey City modelers.

If you were to put me at the corner of Ege Avenue and Westside Avenue, I could find the place where a company (I want to say Balsa Company of America, but, I am unsure) that cut balsa planks for life rafts and the war effort. I am sure it is no longer at that location.

This company cut the required sizes for life rafts. Needless to say, there were cut-offs that were pure gold to us. We received permission to take away this "scrap" and this put us into the u-control speed field since everything we built was of balsa block for at least three years. Johnny Diehl had a wood turning lathe so all of us had ukies with round fuselages that were hollowed out to hold the ignition and control components. I have no idea what direction this little Jersey City group would have gone without the generosity of that balsa company. By the way, I still have a couple of balsa planks from those days. And, I never got a Fireball until I spent some "quality" time in Korea. The Jersey City balsa planks gave me all the airplanes I needed.

Just for the record, I often checked out Scientific's "garbage". I never found anything worth while -- Mr. Frisoli used everything.

Thanks for listening and thank you for your memory.

Art Schroeder
Old 07-02-2003, 11:25 PM
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Bob Lloyd
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Default Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

Hey, Art- Your story was great. It brought back a lot of memories. Those were the days, huh? My first engine was a 'Mighty Midget". After that an Ohlsson 19 and a Brownie made by the Brown company. My first model was a Scientific Monocoupe. I also had a Goldberg Zipper. One of the last models I bought was a control-line Firebird-- then I was off to the South Pacific with the Marines.
One thing I remember from back then was the article that the Good brothers had in Air Trails magazine (I think that was the mag). It included plans for the first radio-control plane, the Guff. Do you remember that? Bob
Old 07-03-2003, 03:25 AM
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CoosBayLumber
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Default My junkpile find

Our local hobby shop owner back in the 1970's had arranged for tours of the Sou. Calif. A/C and railroad manufacturer's facilities. First our was to K&B (which I missed), then to Sure-Flite (what a dump), on to L.Cox and Irv Athern.

Got the speaches, and then went through the back of the Cox facility towards the evening. Last stop was inspection and packaging. Was a big scrap bin there loaded with bad (but new) engine parts. In dealing, we got a five gallon bucket full of Cox glow heads and crankcases at 20 cents per pound. They were worth only about 10 cents per pound scrap value. The heads all had some sort of defect like pooped threads, bent fins, unattached elements, or low current elements. Out of that bucket full, we got maybe 2-300 - "OK for us"- glow heads. We there then in heaven as they were running about 75 cents each at the time. For a while, we even sold heads or crankcases to friends for 50 cents a handfull.

Can't get those deals anymore. Don't have but one or two from that bucket anymore.

The next week we went to Athern, and found they ground up and re-used everything. No souvineer stickers nor scrap parts.


Wm.
Old 07-07-2003, 02:14 PM
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Jim Messer
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Default Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

Hi Art:

I have posted this story before, but will repeat it here because it fits into what you said about balsa planks from the life raft era. Growing up in the free flight days of the forties, I heard of a man that had a lot of balsa, but our paths never crossed. I opened a model business in the mid 70's, and got into kit manufacturing. I purchased my balsa from many sources, and I remembered the story I had heard so often about this guy with all the balsa. So I got his name, and called him on the phone: "Sorry - the balsa was not for sale". O.K. I went on purchasing from my regular suppliers.

Then one day I received a phone call from this man. He told me that he had just been diagnosed with cancer and he only had a short time to live. He wanted me to have the balsa for a total cost of $750.00. It came from a life raft factory in NYC.

He lived about 75 miles away, so I drove to his house, and was "shocked" at what I saw. There was a one car garage and it was literally full of balsa, floor to ceiling, side to side, and front to back - with no place to walk. These were assorted sizes of balsa planks from 3 to 4 ft. in length, and the pile contained a total of 13000 board feet. It took me three trips using a pikup and trailer to get the balsa home.

I used about half of it making kits, and I still have the rest in dry storage. I make kits for my flying buddies and give them away "free of charge". So far we have constructed 54 airplanes - all 1/4 scale or larger, and we haven't even dented the pile.

Someday we should meet. If you ever get to the Sebring area, give me a call.
Old 07-10-2003, 02:17 AM
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flicka5
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Default Garage full of balsa

I can vouch for Jim's story because we visited this garage many times before Jim's buyout and bought small quantities of balsa blocks for our immediate building needs. We were also offered the total amount but declined as did not want to find a storage and required cutting /sales/disposal method. My understanding was that this "Goldmine " of balsa originated from a local retailor of
insurance loss items from fire, flooding, bankruptcy, etc. Anyhow, bought some large balsa planks at an auction at a deceased marine repair business some years later and found that one doesn't want to be making a lot of saw cuts in large balsa planks without having some method of dust control. After filling my basement with clouds of balsa dust, figured I should quit before the wife found balsa dust on her kitchen pantry shelves. Still have a quantity of planks stuffed in the basement ceiling rafters. Probably be there when the house is sold for estate purposes. When I need some 1/16 balsa sheets, it is easier to buy them at the local hobby shop and cleaner!
Old 07-24-2003, 08:06 PM
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dicknadine
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Default Goldmine in a dump!!!!!

i vote for buying it retail. the effort to convert timber into sheets and sticks sure ain't worth it. my time, power tools, dust removal are Ok for the purist but I can build twice as many good models in the same amount of time and still have plenty of storage space. both Balsa USA and Lone Star are good. last order of $300. from Lone was short of the 3/32 ordered, had extra 1/8 instead, they sent extra 3/32 overnite at O cost to me...now have enough quanity for my new in process 14" Flying Quaker, electric r/c.

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