Paul K. Guillow, Inc.
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|Products||Balsa wood model airplane toys|
Paul K. Guillow, Inc. is a manufacturer of Balsa wood model airplane toys. It was established in 1926 in Wakefield, MA, United States. The company was founded by Paul K. Guillow, a World War I U. S. Navy Aviator, and was originally called Nucraft Toys.
Soon after Charles Lindbergh's famous solo transatlantic flight in 1927, a craze for all things aeronautical swept over America. Guillow capitalized on that fad by introducing a line of balsa wood model kits. The first line of Guillow balsa shelf model kits offered consisted of twelve different World War I biplane fighters with 6 inch wing spans that retailed for 10¢ each. Each kit contained a 3-view plan, balsa wood cement, 2 bottles of colored dope, a strip of bamboo for wing and landing gear struts - this was considered relatively good value for such toys at that time. In 1933, demand for the kits were high enough as to enable Guillow to move out of the family barn that it started from and into its present-day location in Wakefield. The company also supplemented the production of model airplanes with the publication of several books on flying model planes in the 1940s.
During World War II, the supply of balsa wood was diverted to the war effort for the manufacture of rafts and life jackets. Guillows was forced to use alternative materials like cardboard or pine to manufacture the model kits. In the meantime the company also diversified into building target drone aircraft as training aids for gunners. After the war, to meet changing customer tastes, it shifted its emphasis from "stick & tissue" kits to concentrate on the mass production of inexpensive hand-launched and rubber band–powered toy planes that were sold a variety of retail outlets.
In early 1998, Guillow purchased long time competitor Comet Industries/North Pacific of Chicago. To date, the manufacturer is the largest of its class.