Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Profit From Pleasure Is Keynote of Merry-Go-Round Makers (~1949)

'Profit From Pleasure’ Is Keynote 
Of Merry-Go-Round Makers

River Boat Scale Model “In Works” At Mt. View Firm

By Muriel Guinn

MOUNTAIN VIEW - Bullet-shaped steel, which started life as disposable gas-tanks for bombers on long range missions, is transformed here to streamlined airplanes for youngsters to enjoy at amusement parks.

The conversion is a part of the industrial program of the Arrow Development Co., on Moffett Boulevard, which operates with the slogan “profit from pleasure.”

The silver tanks are reinforced and embellished with swept back wings to give them the appearance of the latest in jet aircraft. They are shipped, along with a number of other products, to give pleasure to the small fry, at amusement parks, civic centers, fairs and carnivals all over the country.


On the local assembly line, along with the “Arrowplane” is a miniature streamline train, merry-go-rounds, and baby autos.  The newest project is an authentic Mississippi steam boat, made to scale as a duplication of the old-time craft which plied the waters of “Ole Man River.”

The boat will go to the Oakland Park Lagoon, where a wharf will be built to scale for loading both adults and youngsters aboard.

Bill Hardiman, one of the four co-owners of the development company, says he tried out the hull last week and it created quite a stir among yacht enthusiasts in the San Mateo yacht harbor.  When it is finished the boat will have smoke stacks, white balustrades, an interior lounge for passengers and a stern paddle.

The steel hull is coated with Fiberglas to avoid rust from the water and insure its being completely waterproof.

Hardiman is in business with Karl Bacon, Angus Anderson and Edward Morgan.  All four have engineering backgrounds, and they combine the talents of designing company products.


The firm settled in Mountain View in the fall of 1945 and opened it’s doors in earl 1946.  In addition to kiddieland projects, it manufactures apparatus for Varian Associates, such as vacuum tubes, and electronics parts for Hewlett Packard and Dalmo Victor.

The company employs from seven to 20 men, depending on the season.  Spring is the general buying season for amusement park apparatus, although the demand has kept up this year thru October, much to Hardiman’s surprise.  Usually orders start tapering off in late July.

A project now under construction is the reconditioning of one of the early-day San Francisco horse cars, built prior to 1870.  Hardiman says the old car is one of 17 to come through the 1906 earthquake, and is one of two still in existence. “It will be a museum piece when it’s finished, as well as a ride for youngsters.” he adds.

The car will run on a track and cable, but will actually be powered by a concealed gas engine.  “It’s being finished for “Wonderland” on El Camino Real.

The company keeps a kiddie fire engine, which it rents to churches and civic organizations for carnivals and bazaars.

It is a miniature, and complete including hook and ladder, sirens, red lights, hoses, axes and all.

When the company opened for business, it did commercial machine design and manufacturing. The owners soon discovered a need for amusement equipment, and gradually worked into its production. Merry-go-rounds produced here are in Alum Rock Park, Oakland Park, Peralta Park and Wonderland.

All the amusement equipment is built as modern machines are built, Hardiman says, with safety an important factor in design and manufacturing.

Note: From the statements about progress on the "River Boat", this article must have been written just before or during the planning and construction of the Lil' Belle, which was delivered in 1950.

Building Disney's Dream is available on the iTunes Store. 
For a .pdf contact us at dwf@d-innovation.biz

Avis' World's Fair Antique Beauties (1964)

February 1964 was a romantic month if you liked antique cars and Slick Airways Stewardesses.  The San Mateo Times featured an article documenting the 38 beauties making the long trip to New York for the World's Fair.

San Mateo Times - 26 February 1964

(Reconstructed Image)
LET’S GO FOR A SPIN - First of a fleet of 36 antique autos to be used in an exhibit at the New York World’s Fair were flown out of San Francisco International Airport by Slick Airways Monday night. From left to right; Jessica Cramar and Cindy Nettle try out the cars, built by Arrow Development Company of MountainView for Avis Rent A Car. The gasoline-powered autos will be used for family rides at a track built at the fair. (Times Photo)

Original Story

Building Disney's Dream is available on the iTunes Store. 
For a .pdf contact us at dwf@d-innovation.biz

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Kaiser-Darrin Jr. Inspiration

This undated article entitled M.V. PLANT KEEPS KIDS HAPPY features a photograph of Arrow employees John Jackson, Dick Ellsworth and Karl Bacon assembling what looks like Midget Autopia cars, until you read the caption, which states that Arrow has built 56 of them for Kaiser-Darren Jr. midget cars of Oakland, some of which had already been shipped to Hawaii.

The Kaiser-Darren 161 was a limited production sports car, built in 1954 by Kaiser Motors to compete with European sports cars, like the Triumph TR-2, being introduced to the US after World War II. Designed by Howard "Dutch" Darrin, a revamp of Kaiser's Henry J compact, the Kaiser-Darrin was noted for being the first American car with a fiberglass body and doors on tracks which slid into the front fender wells. Only six prototypes and 435 production cars were ever built.

A brief trip to the web (Flickr) turned up this photo of a Kaiser-Darrin kiddie car at a Southern California auto show. 

Now, compare all three photos; the Midget Autopia car at the Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, MO, the kiddie Kaiser-Darren and and a restored Kaiser-Darrin in Arizona.

Midget Autopia Car at Disney Hometown Museum

1954 Kaiser-Darrin

Maybe now we know the real inspiration for the body style of the Midget Autopia cars.

Building Disney's Dream is available on the iTunes Store. 
For a .pdf contact us at dwf@d-innovation.biz

Knott quite the way I remember it (UPDATE!)

Last Friday we spent some time at a few of our favorite places in and around Orange County, including our mandatory annual visit to Balboa Island and Corona del Mar. Along the way we stopped off at Knott's Berry Farm, which I hadn't visited in so long that I could barely recognize it.

While my wife picked up a large jar of the world famous Boysenberry Jam, which had disappeared from our grocer's shelves about year ago, I picked up a copy of Jay Jennings' Knott's Berry Farm - The Early Years which was sitting by the cash register. It was printed by Arcadia Publishing and fully up to their usual high level of quality.

As I flipped thru the pages, I was somewhat surprised  at some of the statements about Knott's rides and Bud Hurlburt. The text praised Bud's honesty and ingenuity and left me with the impression that he personally designed and built most, if not all, of the early rides, in particular the Calico Mine Train Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride and Antique Auto Ride.

Rather than jump to any conclusions, I decided to do a bit more research and headed out onto the web. There was a lot of material there, including an article from Yesterland. It stated;

"Hurlbut was an innovator, and his inventions, like flume rides and various motors, were adopted later by much of the theme park industry."

"Unlike Disney, which has teams of talented Imagineers and other specialists to help create each new attraction, Bud had mainly himself to rely on. This is all the more amazing when you consider how much more elaborate, say, the Calico Mine Ride was in comparison to Disney’s Matterhorn—opened just a year apart from one another."

"Other Hurlbut attractions included the well-loved Antique Auto Ride, which was later renamed the Tijuana Taxi when that area of Knott’s was re-christened “Fiesta Village.” 

Bud made sure the ride was not simply a car on a track, but that the passengers would experience an adventure going through all kinds of terrain and past a variety of colorful and amusing scenes."

Many of the older attractions in Fiesta Village also began as Hurlbut concessions. Many of these were relatively familiar rides from a mechanical perspective, but were made colorful and unique by Bud’s focus on appropriate theming and detail.

The photo above shows the Happy Sombreros, a “Tea Cups” clone that featured colorful chili bowls topped with huge fiberglass sombreros. Note that even the operator’s booth and wrought-iron fencing and arches reflect a sense of Old Mexico or Early California.

Now, I'll admit I tend to err on the side of literal interpretation when I read or hear things, but the message seemed pretty clear to me; Bud Hurlbut invented the rides at Knott's Berry Farm, nearly single-handedly. At that point alarm bells started going off in my head. 

Among the documents Shane Huish shared with me was a seven page list of Arrow rides, dated June 1st, 1979.  It's typewritten and stapled in the upper left corner. Titled Arrow Developent Co., Inc. Ride Locations, It lists over 200 ride systems. There are five references to rides at Knott's Berry Farm; The first is in the Corkscrews section, line 4; Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park California.

Next was the Steeplechase ride:

What followed, on page 3, in the Flumes Section, really caught my attention. There, between King's Island's Hydro and Log flume rides and Libertyland's Log Boat ride it reads: Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park California, ('69) Log Boat.

The Knott's Berry Farm website describes the flume ride;

"This classic attraction, which opened at Knott’s Berry Farm in 1969, remains as one of the most elaborate log flume rides in the U.S. The much anticipated attraction opened in July 11, 1969 with screen legend John Wayne taking the inaugural ride.

The $3.5 million attraction was originally funded entirely by its designer Bud Hurlbut who had previously designed Knott’s Berry Farm’s classic Calico Mine Ride. Hurlbut, a pioneer in the theme park attraction industry, wanted his flume ride to be a completely immersive experience."

By this time, I had virtual steam coming out of my ears. I needed to sanity check myself, so I went back thru some original Arrow sales material I received from Walter Schultze's daughter Linda. 

There, on the front cover of the December 1975 Arrow Flumes and Automobiles brochures were the two other pictures I knew I'd seen somewhere before. First the flume ride. I've overlaid it on top of the image on Knott's current web site for easy comparison;

Next the Antique Autos. Again, the large image is the Knott ride and the insets are from the 1975 Arrow Automobile product brochure. The radiator on the Knott ride is more rounded, but the side lamps are identical. The Knott ride is also missing the convertible top.

Next, I checked with Linda to see if Arrow did the Antique Auto ride at Knotts. She answered without hesitation;

"Yes, of course.  I remember going to Knott's with my parents when they were putting in the rides there."

There was just one more thing to check, on the Arrow 1979 ride list:

UPDATE:  I received a message from Werner Weiss which sheds even more light on the matter: According to Chris Jepsen, John Waite, one of Bud's close associates, says;

"After the success of the Mine Ride, Bud started to pursue the idea that he had about a ride where riders would ride a log type vehicle down a mountain slope (flume) and splash into a pond.  He had read books where it told of loggers doing this sometimes with fatal results.  He thought of a wheeled vehicle riding on tracks under the water.  He then realized that it was not a good idea to have all the wheels and everything under the water, so he approached his good friends at Arrow Development, Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon, about this idea.  

Bud paid for the research that Arrow did up at their plant in Mountain View. He had successfully worked with them on the development of his Car Ride (at Knott's -df) that became one of Arrow's most successful rides at that time.  Bud kept in close contact with them on their testing of a free floating log boat. 

Arrow built a 12' tall model of a drop into a channel of water up at their plant.  When they finally told Bud that they felt they could build a full sized ride, Bud decided he didn't want the first installation.  At that same time Six Flags Over Texas was looking for a new ride and asked Bud if he would let them put in the first Log Ride. Arrow paid Bud back all the money he had spent on experimentation and then opened the first Log Ride that Arrow ever built. (El Aserradero - df) 

This original ride is still in use at SFOT. I think Bud's ride was the 6th or 9th one that they built, and it was the first one to be built in and around a mountain. I also think the logs for Bud's ride were the longest ones they ever built at 11 feet.

Bud had recovered his investment in the Mine Ride within two years and was doing so well that he could afford a larger investment now with the Log Ride. Bud wisely didn't like to take chances and that is why he wanted the Log Ride concept to be tested and proven. With the Mine Ride he was willing to go ahead on his own and develop his idea without another one out there to base his design upon. Bud understood trains but water rides were another story. 

Bud relied a lot on his right hand man, Harry Suker, to help on that design and the building of the ride. Harry came with Bud to help him get the Mine Ride built and then he helped with the building of the Log Ride. He managed both rides for Bud and helped Bud with the building of Castle Park in Riverside."

Building Disney's Dream is available on the iTunes Store.

For a .pdf contact us at dwf@d-innovation.biz

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the road...

Are we there yet...?

Just a note to all our faithful readers; This week we are on the road, first at Stanford University, where Terri is attending the K-12 d.school for Educators Program. Then we'll be in the LA area for some more research - this time from another member of both the Arrow family and a former Disney employee, who has lots of memories about the "middle" years between 1956 and 1972. So, hang in there and browse back thru the 72 other previous blog postings, download a copy of Building Disney's Dream or contact us directly for a .pdf version - and invite your friends!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Walter Schulze

Walter perusing business about 1968
Walter Schulze steps onto Arrow's stage a bit later than the four founders, but fills a vital role in their future success. Graduating from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with an MBA, Walter and his wife Pauline were transferred to San Francisco about 1946. His father, Henry, had been a Vice President and ran the Fore River shipyards in Quincy Massachusetts until his untimely death in 1941. San Francisco Bay Area shipbuilders produced nearly half of all the cargo ship tonnage and 20 percent of warship tonnage built in the entire country during World War II, building an average of one ship per day for the duration of the war.

In addition to his day job, Walter and Pauline did accounting for several small businesses in the Bay Area, including Dura-Bond Bearing, thru which Walter heard of Arrow Development. He appears in a photograph with Walt Disney, Dick Irvine, Joe Fowler, Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan, inspecting an Arrow Antique Ford automobile at the facility in Mountain View around 1954.

Schulze, Bacon, Irvine, Fowler, Morgan and Disney
(image courtesy of Robert Reynolds)

Walter's daughter Linda recalls that her father joined Arrow around 1953, after hearing that one of the founders was interesting in selling his share of the company.  Schulze borrowed $15,000 from his mother Edna and purchased a 1/3 interest. From that time on he became the point man in all of Arrow's business dealings, setting prices for ride systems and filling the role of treasurer and accountant.

It was likely the combination of Schulze's business sense, Karl's design skill, Ed's manufacturing prowess and Walt Disney's focus on the customer that laid the foundation for much of Arrow's future success. Even as late as 1956 Arrow struggled to achieve profitability. Caroline Anderson Moyers, daughter of Arrow co-founder Andy Anderson recalls that the contract with Disney for the Fantasyland rides was fixed at $250,000.  She also has a copy of correspondence from her dad to Bank of America, dated April 1956, stating that he was no longer an owner of Arrow.

After the park opened, Disney asked how Arrow had come out on the deal and discovered that they had lost money on the contract. Disney wrote a check to cover the difference. Four years later he would also by 1/3 of Arrow in an effort to assure their viability. By the time Arrow was sold to Rio Grande Industries in 1971, the company was valued at $3 Million, a 6600% increase. Much of the credit for that growth has to go to Walter Schulze's business acumen.

Linda Schulze had a job as a secretary at Disney in the early 70's and recalls that by that point the relationship with Arrow had begun to cool. Her father was also looking to retire and spend more time in civic activities - he had been a huge booster of the Rotary Club - and wanted to travel. That had a significant influence on Karl and Ed's decision to sell, as the company had grown to the point that it was no longer possible for any one partner to raise enough personal capital to finance a buy out. Although all three would consult to RGI for a few years after the sale, no new projects were funded during that time. Arrow was next sold to Huss in November of 1981.

Walter Shulze died on November 17, 1984 in Los Altos, California.

Building Disney's Dream is available on the iTunes Store. 
For a .pdf contact me at dwf@d-innovation.biz

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ed Morgan - Strong in the background

Of all the research I did for Building Disney's Dream, personal material on Ed Morgan was the most difficult to come by, although in terms of commonality he was literally closest to home for me. Ed didn't talk much about himself. When he did talk, it was often in praise of his dear friend Karl Bacon.  Rob Reynolds quoted Ed in his book, Roller Coasters, Flumes and Flying Saucers;

"I don't want to be a big shot; I want to share any attention with Karl. I definitely wouldn't have been as successful had I not met Karl Bacon. We generated ideas and projects together, often over lunch in the conference room. I was the guy that made them happen from the mechanical standpoint; Karl was the guy who did the math. We complemented each other completely and without strife of any kind.”

Ed's family and uncle Holden had moved to Palo Alto in 1928. Ed graduated from Palo Alto High school in 1933. My family moved to Palo Alto in 1961 and I graduated from Paly in 1972.

Ed's Palo Alto High Graduation Photo
Ed's first job out of high school was working as an automobile mechanic at Barron Park Auto in 1935. He was working 60 hours per week, making about $1500 per month and paying $30 a month in rent. That was at a time when a car cost $580, gasoline was19 cents a gallon, a house cost $6,300, bread was 8 cents a loaf, milk was 47 cents a gallon, a stamp cost 3 cents and the average salary was $1,500 per year.  He was clearly a hard working man.

My first job during high school was pumping gas at Don's Union 76 in Menlo Park. I loved working on cars and also worked at the European Stable in Redwood City for several months, after I graduated from college. Ed wasn't a number cruncher. Back then, I hated math.

Ed and Betty in 1945
When my family moved to Palo Alto in 1961 Ed was living at 1060 Oregon Avenue, just a few blocks east of our address on Bryant.  I must have ridden my bicycle and later driven my car, past that spot hundreds of times on the way to the Palo Alto airport or yacht harbor.

About 1961
Ed was from nearly the same generation as my dad, who was born in 1923. My dad worked for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, who also contracted work to Arrow. My dad also wasn't much to brag on himself, but was always ready to lend a helping hand and instinctively knew which end of any tool was the handle.

Ed also got his own design patent:

I was awarded my first Design Patent, D335,288 on May 4, 1993.

So, although I never met Ed Morgan personally, I think I would have liked him a lot.

About 1986
Building Disney's Dream is available on the iTunes Store. 
For a .pdf contact us at dwf@d-innovation.biz