The History Behind Our Aircraft Kits – Keeping the Legend Alive
Clark Industries was founded in 1976 and began manufacturing propellers for wind generators and model aircraft as well as Homebuilt and Ultralight aircraft. John Clark began building and flying quarter scale models in 1980 and in 1984 started designing his first aircraft kit – The Supermarine Spitfire MK-XII. Growing up in Montreal during WW-II he saw many types of aircraft flying from local airfields, noteable among these was the Hawker Hurricane, then being produced by Canadian Car and Foundry and test flown from St. Hubert Quebec. But from his first glimpse of a Spitfire on display for a war bond drive he fell in love with this aircraft, and built many rubber powered models which hung all over his room. More than anything he wanted to become a fighter pilot but a bout with scarlet fever left him having to wear glasses. Thus ended the career dream of becoming the greatest fighter pilot in the world, this at age 10. Not until age 48 was the dream realised (in a much smaller way of course, quarter scale to be exact). Who says dreams never come true!
On June 25th, 1986, the first Mk-XII made her maiden flight, It was modelled after the prototype MK-XII DP 845 the favourite aircraft of Mr. Jeffrey Quill – Chief Test Pilot of Vickers Supermarine. The first flight was very successful and performance was spectacular, at low level a high speed pass and climbing slow roll this model looks like the real thing, and the sound of her Clark Gryphon 105cc inline twin engine with scale functional exhaust stacks was spine tingling! Now the MK-IX Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane MK-II and DeHavilland Tiger Moths DH-82a and DH-82c are in production in Quarter scale.
Clark Industries has now replaced the older twin inline which used Quadra 52cc components with a new more powerful engine utilising Sachs Makita 3.2C.I. (52cc) cylinders and crankshafts and is custom CNC machining the crankcases. This new engine also features C&H Electronics new Synchro Spark electronic advance units and turns the same three blade 26″ dia. 12″ pitch propeller at over 600 RPM higher than the old Quadra version. Clark Industries is developing a planetary helical gear reduction unit for the new engine which is turning a scale four blade propeller of 32 1/4″ dia and 35″ pitch at over 2600 RPM! Stay tuned for more developments.
The History Behind Our Flintlock Firearms
John Edward Clark became interested in early period firearms at an early age, encouraged by the fact that his Father had a collection of fine Flintlock and percussion English Guns. He read volumes on antique firearms and became fascinated by the legend of the famous Kentucky rifle. In 1954 his first acquisitions were a Snider Enfield, India pattern Brown Bess, and a percussion double sixteen bore by Charles Moore of St James Sq. London England. John spent many pleasurable hours hunting and target shooting with those early acquisitions, won many trap shoots with the little sixteen bore, bagged ducks, partridge and pheasants with both the double and the old Flint Brown Bess. Then the opportunity came to purchase a real Kentucky longrifle, albeit a late period percussion, but nonetheless a muzzle loading rifle. After dismantling and inspecting breech and bore it was deemed to be safe to shoot. It shot extremely well but it was not the much sought after flintlock he so much desired. The really fine flint Kentucky’s were well beyond his means so the only way to achieve his goal was to build one.
The Clark home workshop was well equipped as his father was a skilled woodworker, and encouraged John in all his efforts. A source of good components was found in Livonia, Michigan. A Mr. Harold Hess was then supplying lock kits, stocks, barrels and furniture. A quick trip with dad to see Harold and purchase the necessary parts and it was back to the shop and on with the job. The first rifle was stocked in curly maple and .450 cal 42 in. x 13/16ins. brass furniture and “Q” finial patchbox, with double set triggers. It was test fired in the basement shop/pistol range with a proud dad and mom looking on. This first rifle was built in 1958, and since then John has recreated many rifles , pistols, shotguns, fowlers and trade guns, among them Hawken Rifles, fullstocks and halfstocks, and pistols, English sporting rifles, pistols and double barreled rifles and shotguns. He also has restored many fine original guns, and has owned many fine originals by John Manton, Durs Egg, John Twigg, Allport, Wheeler, J. Bishop, and a cased double flint gun by John Dixon and son of Edinburgh, to mention a few.
Being able to have these fine originals to study and measure has given John invaluable information from which to produce fine recreations of early period classic flintlock firearms, the epitome of these is the Clark Factors Rifle, a faithful recreation of an original by John and Wattell Clark of Holborn, London, England, distant relatives. The original was acquired in England in 1971, in mint condition it was not long before he had an overwhelming desire to shoot this fine piece, but alas it was discovered that the mainspring was fractured. Shooting this beautiful creation had to be postponed. Then one day an old and valued customer came in and wanted something no one else had, upon seeing this rifle it was love at first sight. Several months later the first of many Clark Factors rifles emerged from his shop. Gun No. 101 a faithful recreation of the original except for the trigger guard which at the customer’s request was of the scroll type.
The interest generated by this rifle prompted John to set about making master patterns and lost wax moulds for the various parts for this classic hunting rifle from the golden age of English Gunmaking. Since then there have been many Factors Rifles, cased pairs of Factors pistols and Double guns born from the skilled hands of John Edward Clark Gunmaker in the classic style. In 1998 John bagged a nice buck with the original Clark Flint Rifle, what better tribute to the maker than to use his creation 218 years on!!