Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corporation (Lincoln, Neb.) [RG3009.AM]


RG3009.AM: Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corporation (Lincoln, Neb.)

Records: 1928-1943
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.: Aviation manufacturer
Size: 4.5 cu. ft.


The Arrow Aircraft Corporation “entered the aviation industry in 1925 as pioneers in the manufacture of three, four and five place biplanes.”* In October 1928 the Arrow Aircraft and Motors Corporation succeeded the original corporation, having acquired all of its assets and adding to them a 99% share of the outstanding capital stock of the Patriot Manufacturing Company of Havelock, Nebraska (a suburb of Lincoln). Patriot specialized in the production of trucks and bodies, but after the acquisition the Havelock plant and all Patriot facilities were “made available for the manufacture and sale of Arrow airplanes on an extensive scale.” This expansion was the Corporation’s response to a general boom in demand for small and inexpensive aircraft following Charles Lindberg’s successful Atlantic solo flight in May 1927 and his subsequent support of commercial flying. The new Corporation sought to meet these needs by expanding its production capability (the Patriot acquisition), organizing a craftsman’s school and a school for the training of students and customers, and acquiring an airport near the factory. The corporation also increased its work force and set up a new sales system.

By early 1929 production had begun on 271 orders for Arrow Sport planes. However, a fire at the LeBlond Company, an engine supplier, caused long delays in delivery of the planes, and the resulting increase in production costs raised the price of the planes over $1,300.00 from the originally quoted $2,356.00 price. “Wholesale cancellation” of orders followed, after only 68 planes had been delivered. The onset of the Great Depression caused further financial problems. Though the Arrow Sport was recognized as a “sturdy, reliable and safe ship,” the company was financially distressed and the years 1931, 1932, and 1933 were lean. In the end, a total of either 110 or 112 Arrow Sport planes were produced.

During 1934-1935 Arrow Aircraft developed and tested a simple conversion of the standard Ford V-8 engine that allowed it to be used in aviation. The company also “designed, built and completely tested a low winged monoplane” to be produced with the converted V-8 motor installation. It was hoped that the new plane would appeal to customers by offering low motor costs, along with low operating expenses and upkeep. However, despite a rigorous sales campaign, the V-8 plane never fulfilled the company’s high expectations and was never popular with aviation customers. Beset with financial issues, the company began applying to the federal government for loans to maintain operations, before finally declaring bankruptcy in the 1939.

*Quotations taken from a corporation loan application, c.1935. See Series 2, folder 1.


This collection relates to the business activities of the Arrow Aircraft Company. It is arranged in fourteen Series: 1) Board of Directors; 2) General Correspondence; 3) Loans; 4) Audits; 5) Balance Sheets / Financial Data; 6) Bankruptcy Data; 7) Unemployment Compensation; 8) Stock; 9) Securities and Exchange Commission; 10) V-8 Engine; 11) Sales; 12) Government Materials; 13) Technical Information; and 14); Miscellaneous.

The collection contains mostly financial data: balance sheets, financial papers, audits, and bankruptcy information. There was no order to the records as they were received by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Correspondence for which a relationship or subject matter could not be easily determined was classified as “General Correspondence” and filed in Series 1. However, other correspondence may be found throughout the collection as part of the series to which it relates. Due to the nature of the financial data available in the collection, similar information and statistics may have been applicable to more than one of the series/groupings created by NSHS staff. Researchers should look carefully through each series for information.

Series 1 contains a single volume of minutes of the Board of Directors, 1935-1940.

Series 2 is composed of correspondence relating to business trips, inquiries from interested customers, flight training, and many of the financial issues documented in various series.

Series 3 consists of loan information. This includes a history of Arrow Aircraft and information about the Lincoln area in the early 1930s. Information on a potential merger with Cairnes Development is also included in this series.

Series 4 contains audit information, 1928-1932, and 1938. Audits were carried out at the time of the attempted merge with Cairnes Manufacturing in the late 1920s, and for loan applications to avoid bankruptcy in the mid 1930s.

Series 5 is comprised of Balance Sheets and Financial data, including correspondence and two oversized folders. The balance sheets and financial data appear to have been used for the day-to-day, year-to-year operations of the business. The audit and bankruptcy materials were specifically labeled as such by the records creator.

Series 6 contains correspondence and financial papers dealing directly with bankruptcy issues between 1938-1939, and some papers dating from 1942. The bankruptcy can be attributed to the tough financial times of the 1930s, and poorer than expected sales after heavy investing in the development and production of the V-8 engine and plane.

Series 7, Unemployment Compensation, contains mostly forms and bulletins for the years of 1936 to 1942.

Series 8 consists of stock information including correspondence, stock certificates, legal documents and stock offering materials.

Series 9 relates to the company’s interactions with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). It contains correspondence, forms and documents, prospecti, laws and regulations.

Series 10 contains manufacturing information, advertisements and correspondence pertaining to the V-8 engine.

Series 11 deals with sales, including correspondence, advertisements and photos.

Series 12 contains government documents including forms and bulletins, Civil Aeronautics specifications, state security regulations and applications for securities registration.

Series 13 contains technical data, an aircraft design booklet and material tool information, as well as a handbook for airplane designers.

The miscellaneous materials of Series 14 include receipts, newspaper articles, notes and messages, and an interesting calendar from 1938 for an aluminum production company.

Note: Mr. Daniel Roth of Lincoln graciously donated the majority of this collection to the Nebraska State Historical Society in 2002.


Series 1 – Board of Directors

Volume 1 – Minutes, 1935-1940 (see oversize)

Series 2 – General correspondence
Box 1

  1. 1936-1937
  2. 1938-1939
  3. 1940-1941
  4. 1942-1943

Series 3 – Loans

  1. Arrow Aircraft History
  2. Potential Merger with Cairnes Development, 1932-1934
  3. RFC Loan Application and Correspondence, 1935
  4. Federal Reserve Loan Material, 1936
  5. RFC Loan Material, 1936, part 1
  6. RFC Loan Material, 1936, part 2
  7. RFC Loan Material, 1940

Series 4 – Audits

  1. 1928-1929
  2. 1930-1932
  3. 1936
  4. 1936-1937
  5. 1938

Series 5 – Balance sheets/financial data

  1. Financial papers and Correspondence
  2. Financial papers (no date), part 1
  3. Financial papers (no date), part 2
  4. Balance sheets, 1929-1934
  5. Balance sheets, 1933
  6. Balance sheets, 1935
  7. Balance sheets, 1936-1937
  8. Balance sheets, 1937
  9. “Consolidated” balance sheets, Dec. 31, 1930 (see oversize)
  10. Balance sheets, 1938-1939 (see oversize)
  11. Balance sheets, 1939 (see oversize)
  12. Miscellaneous financial documents (see oversize)
  13. General financial papers, 1939


Payroll ledger, 1936-1939 (see oversize)

Check register / sales / cashbook, 1936-1940 (see oversize)

Series 6 – Bankruptcy data
Box 1 cont.

  1. Bankruptcy Correspondence, undated, 1939 & 1942
  2. Bankruptcy Papers, undated-1938
  3. Bankruptcy Papers, 1939, part 1
  4. Bankruptcy Papers, 1939, part 2

Series 7 – Unemployment compensation
Box 2

  1. 1936-1938, and undated
  2. 1938-1939
  3. 1939-1942

Series 8 – Stock

  1. Stock Correspondence, 1936-1943
  2. Stock Certificates, 1929 and 1931
  3. Stock Certificates, 1937 and 1939
  4. Stock Certificates, 1941-1942
  5. Stock Offering and Legal Documents, part 1
  6. Stock Offering and Legal Documents, part 2

Volume 1 – Stock Ledger, 1931; 1936-1937 (see oversize)

Volume 2 – Stock Ledger, 1937 (see oversize)

Volume 3 – Stock Certificates, 1936-1937 (see oversize)

Series 9 – Securities and Exchange Commission
Box 2 cont.

  1. SEC Correspondence, 1936, part 1
  2. SEC Forms and Correspondence, 1936, part 2
  3. SEC Correspondence and Documents, 1937
  4. SEC Arrow Aircraft Prospecti, 1936, part 1
  5. SEC Arrow Aircraft Prospecti, 1936, part 2
  6. SEC Regulations for Illinois
  7. SEC Instructions and Material Lists
  8. SEC Laws and Regulations

Series 10 – V-8 Engine

  1. V-8 Manufacture Information
  2. V-8 Technical Data
  3. V-8 Correspondence, 1935-1936 and 1938
  4. V-8 Correspondence, 1939
  5. V-8 Correspondence, 1940-1943
  6. Arrow V-8 advertising (see oversize)
  7. Arrow Aircraft V-8 advertising (see oversize)

Series 11 – Sales
Box 3

  1. Ad Correspondence, 1939
  2. Ads and Photos
  3. Arrow Aircraft Dealers Promotional Booklet for the Arrow “Sport” (see oversize)

Series 12 – Government materials

  1. Government Forms and Bulletins
  2. Civil Aeronautics Administration Aircraft Specifications, part 1
  3. Civil Aeronautics Administration Aircraft Specifications, part 2
  4. Arrow Aircraft, Nebraska Securities Regulations
  5. Nebraska Blue Sky Law, Application for Securities Registration

Series 13 – Technical information

  1. Aircraft Design Booklet/ Machine Tool Information

Volume 1 – Handbook of Instructions for Airplane Designers (see oversize)
Blueprint drawing of the Arrow Sport airplane (see oversize)

Series 14 – Miscellaneous
Box 3 cont.

  1. Miscellaneous Materials

Subject headings:

Aerial photography
Aircraft industry — Nebraska — Lincoln
Airplane factories — Nebraska — Lincoln
Arrow Aircraft and Motor Corporation (Lincoln, Neb.)
Airplanes — Nebraska — Lincoln
Lincoln (Neb.) — Industries

KO/kfk 05-21-2003; 12-02-2003
Revised TMM 03-26-2007

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