B. W. Bowmar, Co.      Precision Metal Fabrication

...In His Own Words

In about 1935, gasoline powered model airplane engines came on the market, and I wanted one. As these were still depression years, Dad said he would not buy one for me, that they were to expensive. He did say, however, that if I could borrow one from one of my friends and measure it up and make drawings of it, that he would buy the necessary tools to make them. This, of course, cost many times more than an engine cost.

My first engine was crude and would not run, but I had become acquainted with a machinist who lived several blocks away, and he helped me get started at machine work.

My second engine did run but did not have enough power to fly an airplane. Each engine ran better and better until two of the engines that I built took first place honors in model boat and model race car competition.

I found people to be extremely helpful and many things came about that I now envision as miracles. My Grandfather Millen was an excellent pattern maker, so he showed me how to make patterns.

The Pasadena Foundry Co., who I asked to make castings for my little engines, did not want to bother with my small stuff, so they gave me all the material and information and even helped me make my first furnace to melt the metal in. Then, one day when I was trying to make some castings, a man came to see my dad on other business and saw me trying to make these castings. I told him what I was trying to do, and he said he was chief foundry man for Alcoa Aluminum and would show me how to make these castings professionally. So from then on my castings were very nice.

Then there became a shortage of spark plugs for the little engines, so I found a name listed in the phone book of a man who specialized in making porcelain articles. I contacted him and he became very interested in my project. He gave me an old furnace, which still worked, gave me all the ingredients and within a couple of weeks, I was making my own spark plugs.

Bill Bowmar
(Circa 1990)


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