Perusing through some old Christmas Wish Book issues printed by the likes of Sears, Ward, JC Penny, Spiegel, etc., turned up quite a few model airplane types. Joe Ott and Comets stick and tissues kits were available as were Cleveland as static display models. Many fuel-powered, ready-to-fly models that pre-dated the Cox line used the Wen Mac .049 engines with much-heralded "Rotomatic," "Cyclomatic," and "Flexomatic" starters, which were variations on the simple spring type starter used by Cox. One particularly interesting item is the "Remote Control Unit" that appeared in the 1958 Wards catalog for control line airplanes. It allowed the pilot to operate controls from outside the flying circle. I'm guessing no beginner ever got one of those to work - it was unlikely enough that he would be successful holding the handle from inside the circle.
Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator to see what items cost in today's dollars. That $7.98 Marine Corsair from the 1958 Ward catalog would cost $63.61 in 2012 money, which is about right for a similar item today if it was available (only on eBay anymore).
Here are some other items from my 1969 Sears Christmas Wish Book.
Marine Corsair, Air Force Turbojet, and Navy Cutlass Control Line Model Airplanes from the 1958 Sears Christmas Wish Book. (original)
Boeing P-26 Peashooter, Kingcobra, SNJ-3 Control Line Airplanes form 1966 JCPenny Christmas Wish Book (original)
Cleveland Accurate Scale Models from 1944 Wards Christmas Catalog (original)
Joe Ott and Comet Model Airplane Kits from the 1944 Ward Christmas Catalog (original)
Many of these images were retrieved from the WishBookWeb.com website. The owner has graciously scanned and posted many years of the entire Christmas catalogs of Sears Roebuck, JCPenny, Spiegel, [Montgomery] Ward, and Lord & Taylor. I have purchased ones of my own, but many of these go much further back in time. Please visit the WishBookWeb.com website to wax nostalgic over toys, radios, guns (yes, guns) bicycles, and other items from your childhood.
Posted September 16, 2012