The Precise Models Inc. letterhead included the outline of a towmotor, plane and rocket and logo of abstract Corporate letters. The original artwork for the Precise Models letterhead and catalog are pictured on this page. Paul Schneider is quoted in a May 22, 1971 news article as stating his motto is "to do a precision job on every model, that's why we named our company Precise Models."
Precise Models, Inc., 150 Kenwood Street, Elyria, OH.
Office, Assembly Room and Warehouse
Precise Models, Inc. was founded by Mr. Paul Schneider and Mrs. Rita Malanowski. Paul was a business partner with Mr. Edward William "Bill" Topping of Topping Models, Inc. since returning from the U.S. Army in 1949. Rita had been employed at Topping Models, Inc. from 1954-1960 in the purchasing department. Paul's son, Gary was also an employee for Topping while in High School. All three left Topping Inc. employment in May 1960 to start the new company.
Precise Models Inc. incorporated on May 13, 1960 and was first located in a small cinder block rented building at 137 Edgewood Street, 3 blocks West of Topping Assemblies. The building was shared with the owner using one end for his small business. Paul immediately began calling on his former Topping business contacts and was in fierce competition with Topping for model business for the next five years.
The new Precise Models Inc. officers were Paul Schneider, President and Rita (Mrs. Bernard) Malanowski, Secretary-Treasurer. Paul and Rita served as the Corp. Directors in addition to Mr. Robert Vandermark, a local attorney, serving in an advisory capacity.
Two months passed before the first order was placed with Republic on July 27, 1960 for 175 RF-84 Thunderstreak models. Paul had kept this RF-84F Thunderflash pictured below under his desk for years. This model was removed from the shrink wrap for display and has the small Precise Models decal under the wing. The small decal was determined to be Precise Models Inc. "advertising" by the customers and discontinued with later orders. The next order was larger and placed on December 19, 1960 with McDonnell for 1,025 F-101B Voodoo models.
Paul would receive numerous requests from individuals to purchase models and as they were under contract to the aircraft companies and the models used as sales tools, they were not allowed to sell to the general public. The following form letter was used when model requests were made, models also were later available at the manufacturer gift shops.
The first model moulder was Lake Erie Plastics, a small block building housing 6-8 injection machines located behind Topping Assemblies. Space was so tight, an overhead I- beam and chains were used to lower the mold into the presses. Later this building was purchased by Joe Goldsmith and the small 5' alley separating Topping Assemblies and Lake Erie Plastics was built over, merging the two buildings.. The model bases were manufactured and hot stamped by House of Plastics in Cleveland and the cardboard boxes were ordered from Stone Container in Cleveland.
Republic RF-84 Thunderstreak
Precise Models, Inc.
In 1963 Precise Models purchased a small cinder block building at 150 Kenwood Street, directly across the street from Topping Assemblies. A 1963 Dunn & Bradstreet report shows net annual sales of $100,000 and noted a 25% increase over the previous year. In 1964, there were 10 full time and 4 part time employees. In 1971,the company had grown to 27 employees working in a 12,000 sq. ft. building.
Elyria Packaging Company, Inc. was incorporated as an Ohio Inc. on August 26, 1964 with the purpose of packaging small sales items. There were 3 employees and the first year had shown gross income of $9,807. The principal stockholders were Paul Schneider, Rita Malwinski, Joseph Goldsmith (Buckeye Molding), R.W. Schmittgen and a few other individuals.
Their business included assembling and packaging small sewing kits and seam guides for the White Sewing Machine in Cleveland, OH. and packets of the Kenco kit cards for Kenco Pump. Other packing items included cards, faucet pads, knobs, Elmer’s Dancing Man, etc. Elyria Packaging Company Inc. was sold to Elyria Pioneer Metal Products Inc. for $12,000 on May 31, 1966.
Shortly thereafter, Rita passed away at age of 51 and Paul bought out her share of the business. Competition now included not only Topping but RoLen (Dick Roberts and Stan Lenovitch), both located across the street at 157 Kenwood Street. The arial view map below show the business locations.
Aerial Map location of RoLen, Topping Models Inc, Precise Models Inc.
& Lake Erie Plastics (molder)
This aerial view was taken before 2010 when Precise Models was sold. The facilities consisted of three main areas; the gray pitch roof is the warehouse, the black flat roof was the painting / buffing area and the small white roof facing the street was the main office entrance. A boat was stored in the lot next to the warehouse and is visible in the picture. The green area was a fenced in back lot.
Business grew and the warehouse was contructed in the 1970's, expanding the facility to 9,800 sq. ft. During the 1970-1980's period, Precise employed up to 30 full time employees and shipping up to 200 models/day. The typical workday was 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. with a 30 minute lunch break and 2 -15 minute breraks during the day. If the employees did not use their break, they could leave at 3 p.m. which was appreciated as there were no roof vents in the building and the air flow in the building was minimal. During the winter, the work hours changed to 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Precise also had 2 primary sales representatives with close ties to the defense contractors. The sales reps were located on the East and West coast. The West coast representative was Jack Rubley. The East coast representative is unknown.
A large scale General Dynamics F-111
greeted visitors to Precise Models for many years.
The motorized wings could slowly sweep in and out, however Paul liked the wings in the open fixed position.
The model was dropped when a new pitched roof was installed in the 90's and the model was not repaired.
This picture was taken in the early 70's with the notation "Anita".
Paul would host numerous parties for almost any occasion, including birthday parties for his beloved pet schnauzer. These pictures were taken at Paul’s 65th birthday in 1982. There was an annual Christmas party complete with catering. Paul's schnauzer, "Christie" accompanied him wherever he went 24-7. Christie even had her own birthday parties, complete with party trays for all employees. When Christie passed away, the next day Paul picked up another schnauzer, "Princess".
Paul's 65th Birthday Party at Precise Models
August 17, 1982
Paul started his workday at 5:30 a.m. and was at the shop every day of the week, often "just to get out of the house and away from Mom". He usually had 20 or more friends stop in on Saturday morning for steak & eggs breakfast.
Finishing Room & Warehouse Paul's Office-Conference Room-Breakroom
Upon Paul’s passing away in 1989 at the age of 72, Gary became President with his mother having joint business ownership.
Gary had been employed at Topping Models part time while in Elyria High School and upon graduation in 1957, attended Miami University in Oxford, OH. for 1 semester. He returned to Elyria and was employed with a civil engineering firm in Elryia surveying new subdivisions.
In 1959-1961, Gary attended Long Beach College part time before returning to Elyria, working serveral years for the City Engineering Department. In 1967, Gary began working for his father at Precise Models, Inc. Upon his mother's death in the 1990's Gary took over full ownership of the business.
Precise Models Catalog:
A six page envelope size catalog was published in the 1970s showcasing 15 models and listing 13 manufacturers including Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed, LTV and Northrop. The Precise Models catalog is available while limited supplies last. A few autographed catalogs by former Precise Models, Inc. President Gary Schneider are also avaiable.
Selected Precise Models Catalog Artwork
The last order placed with Precise Models were 50 Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes from in-house stock and sold to a Grumman employee. The last models finished were McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantoms just prior to closing in December 2005.
In February 2010 the Precise Models building was sold to a Elyria auto body repair & painting business. The building has undergone a significant renovation with landscaping and interior work. The last 4 employees to leave were Frannie, Donna, Phyllis and Joe. Frannie had been employed at Topping painting models as had Phyllis's mother. Phyllis could look and hand mix the colors to perfectly match the color needed and store the excess paint in coffee cans. Donna would patiently sit and apply decals all day long, applying the finishing touch. They along with many others had dedicated many years in making high quality collectible models. Today, Gary is retired but remains active in the VFW and American Legion. He has contributed much of the historical information for this site remains a good family friend.
Precise Models, Inc. - Paul & Gary Schneider
May 13, 1960 - December 31, 2005
Paul Schneider, Precise Models, Inc.
Founder and President 1960 - 1989
Gary Schneider, Precise Models, Inc.
President 1989 - 2005 (Photo taken March 2010)
Additional information on these and other contractor scale model manufacturing companies can be found at the following links:http://aviation.watergeek.eu/index.html and www.collectair.com
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