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Clayton J. Brukner
His contributions to Troy were many, and those he was associated with remember him fondly 

EDITOR'S NOTE: With the cooperation of many of the late Clayton Brukner's many friends and associates, and with the particular aid of a biography written by Susan Pauly, the Troy Daily News begins a two-part series today on Brukner, his work and personality. The philanthropist-inventor-entrepreneur died at the age of 81 Monday.

First of Two Parts
By HARRIET HOWARD HEITHAUS
Associate Editor

He was a man with a finely-honed intelligence, a curiosity for the why behind the what and an impatience for the inefficient and imperfect. 

There were no social niceties with Clayton John Brukner, who, as a octogenarian still had "so mucy to do and so little time to do it." A TV would have been a wasted present, unless Brukner was allowed to dissect and explore its electronics components. 

'Fly-over' salute scheduled tomorrow
Members of the Dayton Chapter of Quiet Birdmen and Silver Wings, two organizations devoted to antique airplanes, will hold a "fly-over" of biplanes here tomorrow at approximately 2 p.m., weather permitting. The flight will be made over Fisher-Cheney-Cron Funeral Home, where funeral services for the late Clayton Brukner are set for 8 p.m.

[[left margin annotation to first sections]]
Taught to fly in Medina, Ohio by Buck Weaver Pres. so here Waco 8's built by Weaver Aircraft Co
[[/left margin]]


From those who knew him- and most agree he was hard to draw out of his private and busy world - Brukner was something of the many machines he introduced - motion, efficiency, speed, an unwavering arrow on the straight course.

"Nothing bothered him more than to be caught with idle chit-chat," recalled Brukner Nature Center Director Joann Heidelberg, who knew Brukner as a willing hand to bulldoze paths and plow up fields for the $1 million center which would bear his name. 

"This is one of the things people didn't understand about him. They thought he was aloof or impolite. It's just that he felt there were a lot of things to do and that he had to do them." 

And he did do them - and more. Most people only recall Brukner's work with high school friend Elwood "Sam" Junkin in designing the first single-bay airplane and the troop and cargo carrier gliders that towed men and vehicles after the huge C-46's and C-47's. 

Fewer are aware he is the inventor of the Lickety Log Splitter, a device which mechanically replaces the axe and heavy sweat wood-splitting used to require. 

There are some concepts which Brukner either inspired or invented that some of us may never know. Troy Safety Service Director Marlen Reber, who recalls Brukner as the city's guardian angel, remembers his house "from loft to basement, just filled with equipment. He had the biggest collection of scientific and engineering machinery I've ever seen." 

From that machinery came the ideas that developed the CG4-A, a glider commissioned during World War II which carried 13 men or a jeep or one of the service's largest guns. Waco built [[underline]] 1,074 and contracted out the rest [[/underline]]. [[annotation]] Dade in Mineola, L. Island [[/annotation]] That was the heydey of a company founded in 1921 as Advance Aircraft, the child of aviator Brukner and pilot Junkin. 

Advance Aircraft [[scratched off with annotation: was Weaver Aircraft Co]] moved from its [[underline]] Medina plant [[/underline]] to a backroom blacksmith shop on Union Street here in [[underline]] 1923 [[/underline]]. It had successfully sold a grand total of three planes, recalled a history presented by the Troy Jaycees when Brukner was awarded the Community Service Award in 1971. 

It was here the Waco aircraft, with its "quick-lift" capability, were named after Buck Weaver, a local pilot who was Brukner's own "guardian angel" in the new business. The pair's possible plan to rename their company after Weaver as Weaver Aircraft Co. was shortened to Waco.

But before the company was able to move to its third location, the field where B.F. Gooodrich Wheel and Brake division now sits, in 1929, Junkin was to die of pneumonia. 

Of the few times he relaxed, recalled Mrs Hiedelberg, it was Sam Brukner was to reminisce about - the skilled pilot who barnstormed to help the fledgling company up its capital.

When its 50-man plant opened, Harry Reck of Piqua, 70 today, joined Waco's ranks as a "wood butcher" working on the fabric-covered wooden wings.

And when WW II needs inspired the Waco designed glider, employees in the wing section alone would number 353, recalled Reck, their foreman by that time. He left after the war when the glider production was abandoned and Waco began producing small trucks and hospital beds, as he recalled. 

Reck found the airplane business "exciting" and had only praise for his former employer - "He knew the first name of everyone in the shop," recalled Reck. 

Reck's brother, Carl, in Tipp City, had a chance to see Brukner after he, too, had left Waco, "and he came up to me and called me by name," he said. "He had a bunch of old flyers with him and he had them take a picture of us together."

Willard Kingham, Troy, who began working for Waco when wages were 45 cents an hour in 1935, recalled that employees were required to take a ride in a Waco plane at least once a year. "They told us, 'You build 'em, you fly 'em." he chuckled.

TOMORROW: The later years, the other interests.

[[image in middle of article, caption: Brukner posing with a model in a recent photo]]

[[photo]]
This picture was taken around [[underline]]1927 [[/underline]] [[annotation above 1927: 1926]], when the area on Staunton Road was an assembly plant for Waco.

[[bottom margin]]
E.J. Junkin, President died Oct. 31, 1926
Jauct horn Sept. 11, 1926 (father dying all 9 months)
[aligned to date above] died Dec. 11, 1961
The aircraft brains dead. 
C.J.B. event back to his talent because he wanted HN even if it came by making tin cans.

[[right margin]]
HMJ Soaring 7AI #37. Aug 1931
1st for Women U.S.A.

My Soaring 1930-1931 was free adv. Pathe' newsreel all Waco dealers -
[[/right margin]]


Transcription Notes:
typos kept

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