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Balsa Wood Model Airplanes (1960s)

In 1926 Paul K. Guillow, a U.S. Navy pilot in WWI, established his own company to manufacture model airplanes made from balsa wood.

The next year Charles Lindbergh made his solo transatlantic flight and kids were fascinated by aircraft. In 1933 Guillow was able to move out of his family home and brought his company to Wakefield, Massachusetts.

During WWII, balsa wood was diverted to the war effort to make life jackets and rafts. Guillow had to make his kits instead with cardboard or pine. By the 1960s, balsa wood was back in model airplane kits. Remember the 1960s were the decade in which psychedelic drugs were widely used, available and popularized. The children of the 1960s were not immune. They were getting high off the glue that held the plane together. Model manufacturers were forced to discontinue balsa wood. Too bad, because the balsa wood planes flew pretty good.