'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.
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