• U.S.

Business & Finance: Model Business

2 minute read
TIME

Capital of the original Comet model airplane company was $5. One day a solemn, blond boy, Samuel A. Goldenberg left the workroom back of old man Bibichkow’s tailor shop on Chicago’s West Side with $2 and came back with a bundle of balsawood, twine and glue. Jolly, dark-haired, young Bill Bibichkow took the rest of the capital and came back with a scroll saw. Working after classes at Crane Technical High School they began to turn out model airplane kits, sold the first one for 43¢. For the first month of their partnership—October, 1929—their books showed: gross business, $5.59; expenses, $3.35; balance $2.24.

Last week, Partners Goldenberg and Bibichkow made an announcement: for the 1940 model year (which begins next month) Comet Model Airplane & Supply Co., Inc. will double its 1939 output, will bundle up 10,000,000 model sets to be put together and flown by youngsters and hobby-minded oldsters. In 1938, business was good, Comet grossed “closer to $1,000,000 than $500,000,” expects to pass the $1,000,000 mark for 1939.

Today Sam and Bill and Louis Kapp, a young laundry worker who was their first salesman, have 225 employes, by next month’s end will have 300 working three shifts. Over the boards, six draftsmen and eight designers wield pen and T square turning out drawings for scale models of most U.S. military and commercial airplanes in the air today, as well as many a foreign model. Comet has 6,000 dealers, 20 full-time salesmen, a branch and salesroom in Manhattan. Its models, ranging from the Dawn Patrol Fleet (retail price: five for 5¢) to the Comet Clipper ($6.50, less motor), are sold all over the world.

Louis Kapp is president, looks after the sales of Comets, edits the Comet catalogue (5¢), is proud of Comet’s line which, besides modern tricycle landing gears, includes accessories, model engines ($9.95 to $21.50), propellers (Comet produces 90% of the props used by the U.S. model business). Sam Goldenberg is vice president, directs the factory. Bill Bibichkow is treasurer and directs model design. He is proudest of Comet’s crack designer, 26-year-old Carl Goldberg, who won five of the six first places in the National Aeronautic Association model contest at Detroit last month, brought three cases full of trophies along with him when he gave up his amateur standing and went to work as a professional model builder.

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