WAKEFIELD, Mass. – There are few toys more American than a balsa wood plane. And the great manufacturer of those model planes is the Paul K. Guillow Company.
Guillow’s started as Nu Craft Toys in 1926, and with the ownership of Paul Guillow, grew into an indispensable American toy brand, and now makes airplane kits, rubber-band powered planes and even radio controlled planes. Guillow is one of BrandlandUSA’s Nifty Science Brands, a list that includes Revell Models, Estes Rockets and Gilbert and Chemcraft chemistry sets.
According to the company history, the first line of Guillow balsa shelf model kits offered consisted of 12 different W.W.I biplane fighters with 6″ 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, all in all a great value even in those distant days.
It survived the decades.
The company started making promotional planes in the 1980s, and bought the foam airplane manufacturer Tiger Incorporated in 1994.
In 1998, Guillow bought Comet Industries/North Pacific of Chicago, and the purchase turned Paul K. Guillow, Inc. into the nation’s major maker of toy airplanes.
The company still makes planes in the U.S.; we happened to notice at a toy store that only the bags were made in China.
Paul K. Guillow, Inc.
40 New Salem Street
P.O. Box 229
Wakefield, MA 01880
USA Phone: 781-245-5255
I am doing research for a book that I am writing, and am hoping that someone can help direct me to information regarding the date that wooden model airplanes were first sold in the U.S. . Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you. Debra
I have been building guillows airplanes for over 45 yrs and still to this day love building them. Guillows model are true “Americana”, made in the USA.
Do send catalogs of balsa flying models?
The first model plane that I built [around 1950] was a Guillows “Wakefield Jr.”, a rubber powered plane, followed by a Stinson Voyager which really started me into this hobby. This was followed by more Guillows planes as they were so nice to build, and easy to fly. I remember pressing the precut parts from the balsa sheets just like it was yesterday. I can never forget them. I also built other brands like Comet, etc, but the Guillows were #1 for me. I’m so happy to know that the company still survives.