• FortGrounds-logo

Simplex Aircraft Corporation

 

  

 

 

In 1928 the Simplex Airplane Corporation began manufacturing an airplane it would soon fly and advertise as far away as California.  For as little as $3500, a person, even in small Defiance, Ohio, could own a plane of his own – but where was an airport to accommodate this marvel?  The Defiance Chamber of Commerce proposed to build that airport and planned to purchase forty acres of land, twenty acres on either side of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, east of Squires Avenue and south of the Children’s Home on Second Street.  The Chamber eagerly suggested a community fundraiser – a “flying circus” for Labor Day 1928.  A temporary runway was constructed just to encourage other aviators to fly in and show off.  Twenty thousand folks crowded the flying circus, so many that the National Guard and local police kept order, and a hospital tent sat close by just in case of accidents.  The B & O Railroad sent ten policemen to keep the crowd from overflowing onto the train tracks.  The Diehl Brewing Company set up a concession stand selling “Chocolate Baby” for a nickel.  There were two bands, a zeppelin, a parachutist whose lines tangled up, thirty airplanes, flying races, but, alas, “wing-walking” was not allowed.  The entire story of the Simplex Corporation is the current feature exhibit at the Tuttle Museum.  

 

                                         

          Earl J. Allen, President                                        Bronson Air Circus Show                                  From left, Delbert Hammon

          George Roberts                                                      Two Simplex Red Arrows                                  Mayor Ronald Baringer     

                                                                                                                                                                                Francis Johnson