hilarious, how he came to work there,” she said.
While working as chief designer at Comet, Carl met Beth,
a secretary who was Louis’s cousin. “Most people think
of [model aircraft] as my dad’s industry. It was my mom’s
industry as well as dad’s because of her family,” Carol said,
adding that her mother was not a modeler at that time. “They
met and fell in love and married,” Carol said of her parents.
Carl worked for Comet for roughly five years before starting
his own company with Mike Schlesinger and Sidney “Sid”
Axelrod, with whom he had worked at Comet. American
Hobby Specialties, later known as Top Flite Models, began
operations in 1947 and sold gas
model propellers called Top
Flite and Power Prop.
In 1955, Carl decided to
venture out on his own and
start a company with his
wife. Carl Goldberg Models,
and what he created while
operating the business, likely
made him a household name.
“It was just kind of a natural
thing [for him to start the
company] because of his
design background,” Jack said
of why he believed Carl started
his own business.
In the beginning, Carl
Goldberg Models sold a simple
line of $1 scalelike kits, mostly
made of balsa. The company
later expanded to include glue.
Carol said her father was
reluctant to charge more than
necessary for his products
because he felt they should be
obtainable for everyone. She
said this likely stemmed from
the fact that Carl’s father left
his mother when he was a year
old, and she struggled to raise him on her own.
“Like most small businesses, my brother and I occasionally
did a few things,” Carol said of Carl Goldberg Models. Carol
helped do mailings in the summer. She became more closely
involved in the business shortly before her father passed away.
“I had a role at the end. My mom was much more involved.
“I ran [the company] for about the last six years.” Her father
passed away in 1985, and she sold the company to Lanier R/C
Jack noted that Carl designed most of the airplanes that
his company sold until the 1960s when an employee took
over. Carl Goldberg Models is known for airplanes such as the
Senior Falcon, Eaglet, Swordsman 18, Shoestring Stunter, and
Jack said nearly everything Carl built flew perfectly. “Carl
was very much a perfectionist.” Jack said the designer likely
had some airplane designs that he didn’t like hidden in a closet
somewhere, so no one would see them.
Carol agreed. “He was never satisfied with himself. I think
he was an original thinker. He really didn’t believe in putting
limits to creation or imagination,” she said. “It’s clear to me
that he excited people with what he was able to accomplish
that hadn’t been done before.”
Carl was a perfectionist when it came to flying. He won first
place in the 1934 and 1937 Indoor Nats. Carol remembers
him staying up all night working on his models in the hangars
at the naval bases where the Nats was held.
“From as long as I can
remember, we would
all go to contests on
the weekends. Every
summer our vacation
was going to the Nats
and we would take the
’ 52 Ford. Dad loved
to drive. He was very
particular about how
the car was packed.
That was quite a ritual
and it was quite tense.
And then when he got
behind the wheel, you
could literally see him
Carl demonstrates how to make
41 Model Aviation NOVEMBER 2012