Waco History: 1920 – 1922

Weaver Aircraft Company

On June 19, 1920, proceedings began to incorporate the Weaver Aircraft Company. The corporation was formed for the purpose of “Manufacturing, buying, selling, and dealing in aircraft and hydro-aircraft of all kinds, and doing all things incidental thereto”. On September 1, 1920, Ohio State Charter #93413 ½ was granted. On September 2, 1920, the books were opened for the subscription of capital stock. Weaver, Brukner, Junkin, and Deuther each subscribed to 100 shares ($10,000 worth), totaling 1/3 of the outstanding shares. The Department of Securities of the State of Ohio granted its Certificate of Compliance #2170 on September 29, 1920. This was the beginning of WACO.

1921 Waco 4 rde
1921 Waco 4

The year 1921 marked numerous changes for the Weaver Aircraft Company. In April 1921, George E. “Buck” Weaver leaves Lorain, Ohio to go to work for his friend Emil “Matty” Laird in Wichita, Kansas on his new Swallow biplane. Harold C. Deuther decides to leave the company and sells his shares. Elwood J. “Sam” Junkin designs a new biplane powered by a surplus Curtiss OX-5 engine, known as the Waco Model 4. Construction began in June 1921 and by December 1921 was ready for a test flight. Bill Long completed the first test flights and after glowing reports, Buck Weaver decides to return to take over the reins of “his” company the end of December 1921. At this point, only 102 shares of stock had been sold, amounting to less than 10% of outstanding stock available.

Early in 1922, while “barnstorming” the new Waco 4, Weaver meets Howard R. Calvert, son of J. T. Calvert, President and General Manager of the A. I. Root Company, pioneers in the Honey Bee industry, based in Medina, Ohio. Calvert is married to the daughter of the founder, Amos Ives Root, who is also an avid fan of aviation. Weaver is convinced by Calvert to move the company to Medina, Ohio.

Lineup of three 1922 Waco Model 5
Lineup of three 1922 Waco Model 5

In April 1922, the Weaver Aircraft Company moves into a building formerly owned by the Medina Manufacturing Company and also rents a barn and farm field one block away owned by the Burnham family to be used for testing. It is here in Medina that the Weaver Aircraft Company is contracted to modify several Curtiss “Canucks” with new hi-lift wings which then became known as the Waco Model 5. One of these aircraft is the first to receive the Chicago Branch of the Underwriter’s Laboratories aircraft registration and was issued the registration N-ABCW on April 22, 1922.

The Weaver Aircraft Company continues to struggle and no orders are placed for new aircraft. In December 1922, Buck Weaver decides to leave the group for good and moves to Chicago, Illinois to become the personal pilot of Charles “Pop” Dickinson. Clayton Brukner, while on a trip east to buy surplus parts, becomes acquainted with Cecil Deam, OF Hatboro, Pennsylvania. Deam mentions he has a friend named Alden Sampson II, who is about to receive a large inheritance from a trust fund. Deam and Sampson had been lifelong friends, growing up in Tippecanoe City, Ohio. Deam arranges a meeting and in early February 1923, Brukner travels to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to meet the parents of Alden Sampson and convinces them to help fund a new company. They agree to purchase the assets of the Weaver Aircraft Company for $5000 and in return, Brukner would employ their son Alden in hopes he would learn a trade. It was decided that the new company would be named the Advance Aircraft Company. It was Elwood J. “Sam” Junkin who decided they would continue to paint “WACO” on all aircraft.

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