The Harper Aircraft Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Jack Harper moved from town to town in Ohio, seeking backing and money for manufacturing his planes. After being in Elyria, Ohio for some time, Mr. Harper decided to move to Bedford around 1930.

According to reports, the Harper Aircraft Co. set up offices in what apparently had been the office building of the McMyler-Interstate Co. at the corner of Interstate Street and Northfield Road. The company also occupied a part of a factory building which likewise appears to be a former McMyler-Interstate building.

In Bedford the Harper Aircraft Co. built a monoplane which was powered by a Szeke1ey three-cylinder engine with 35 horsepower. The company also built the "Roberts Special". This was a standard Harper airplane with a special variable wing. It was powered by a 65-horsepower Leblond engine.

Also according to reports, Mr. Harper used the Bedford Airport (probably the Ward Airport) which was close to their offices and shop on Northfield Road. A former brick school building at one end of the field was used for building the planes.

Although generally known as The Harper Aircraft Co. it was referred to as The Harper Aircraft Manufacturing Company, Inc. in a log book which was kept by Foster A. Lanes who joined the company in October 1931.

Mr. Harper's stay in Bedford was not long--apparent1y only a few years in the early 1930's. However, forty years later aircraft design was taking place in Bedford. In 1972 J. W. Grega, a designer who lived on Grand Boulevard in Bedford, developed designs for a GN-1 Aircamper. This plane was described as a modernized version of the 1933 Pietenpol Aircamper which appeared to be quite similar to the Harper monoplane.

Jack Harper's time in Bedford was short, but he seems to have made a lasting impression wherever he went.

Written by R.W.Bell
March 1997