To do a precision job on every model, that's why we named our company Precise Models"
Paul Schneider, President May 22, 1971
The original Precise Models Inc. letterhead included the broad range of model products with the outline of the tow motor, plane and rocket. The corporate logo was designed with abstract letters for Precise Models Inc. The original artwork for the Precise Models Inc. letterhead and catalog are pictured on this page.
Office, Assembly Room and Warehouse
Precise Models, Inc.
150 Kenwood St., Elyria, OH.
Photo dated April 2008
HISTORY OF PRECISE MODELS INC.
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. They rented a small 5,000 sq. ft. building at 137 Edgewood St. and it was 3 months before they landed the first order.
Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
Paul had kept this RF-84F Thunderflash 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 placed was on December 19, 1960 with McDonnell for 1,025 F-101B Voodoo models.
The first models were molded by Lake Erie Plastics consisting of a small block building housing 6-8 injection machines located behind Topping Assemblies. The work space was so tight, an overhead I- beam and chains were used to lower the mold into the presses. This building was purchased by Joe Goldsmith and the small 5' alley separating Topping Assemblies and Lake Erie Plastics was enclosed, joining the two buildings. The work environment for employees due to the heat from the injection molding equipment, that Joe used a
2 x4 to break out windows and improve the air circulation. Shortly thereafter fans were installed to move the air throughout the building. 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.
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, Precise reported 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. Paul would receive numerous requests from individuals to purchase models. Precise was under contract with the aircraft manufacturers that used the models as sales tools and was 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.
A related company, 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 Malanowski, 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 packaging 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 51 years old and Paul bought her share of the business. By now the model competition had included Topping but RoLen (Dick Roberts and Stan Lenovitch). Both competitors were located across the street at 157 Kenwood Street. The aerial view map below show the business locations.
Precise Models Inc. RoLen Topping Assemblies Precise Models Inc.
137 Edgewood St. 157 Kenwood St. 149 Kenwood St. 150 Kenwood St.
This aerial view was taken before Precise Models was sold in 2005. 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 expanded rapidly and a warehouse was added in the 1970's, increasing the facility to 9,800 sq. ft. During the 1970-1980's, Precise employed up to 30 full time employees and was 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 breaks 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 and the air flow in the building was minimal. During the winter, the work hours were lengthened to 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Precise also had 2 primary sales representatives with close ties to the defense contractors 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. Unfortunately the F-111 was dropped when a new pitched roof was installed in the 90's and was not repaired.
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 Schneider's 65th Birthday party at Precise Models , Inc.
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 Elyria surveying new subdivisions. In 1959-1961, Gary attended Long Beach College part time before returning to Elyria, working several 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.
Gary passed away at age 84 on April 18, 2023 following a long illness. Gary had been inducted into the Elryai Bowling Hall of Fame for bowling 2 perfect 300 score games, although one did not count due to "the floor not being wiped properly". He was also a honorary member of the V.F.W. Post 1079 and the Elyria United Polish Club.
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 Inc. catalog is available while limited supplies last. A limited quantity of catalogs signed by former Precise Models, Inc. President Gary Schneider are available. A few pics from the catalog are shown below.
Front Cover Selected inside pages Rear Cover
Selected Artwork for the Precise Models Inc. Catalog
Cover page Gemini Space Capsule F-4 Phantom II Agena F-8 Crusader II
Rough Terrain fork lift Minuteman C-5A Cutaway Stud Marker O Ring Guage
The last order placed with Precise Models Inc. was 50 Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes finished with in-house stock for a Grumman employee. The last models to be 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 (aka - Grannie), Donna, Phyllis and Joe. Frannie had been employed at Topping painting models as had Phyllis's mother. Phyllis had an uncanny ability to look at and hand mix the colors to perfectly match. Excess paint was stored in coffee cans until needed. Donna was primarily the office assistant and later would patiently sit and apply decals to add the finishing touch. They along with many others had dedicated many years in making high quality collectible models.
Precise Models, Inc.
May 13, 1960 - December 31, 2005
Paul Schneider, Precise Models, Inc.
President 1960 - 1989
Gary P. Schneider, Precise Models, Inc.
President 1989 - 2005
"To do a precision job on every model, that's why we named our company Precise Models"