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Old 11-26-2011, 05:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by GetOutDoors View Post
I believe 2024 T3 aircraft aluminum at .032 thickness was used until sometime early in 1969. I assumed that Wally purchased and used war surpluses until he ran out.

Can anyone confirm or deny my assumption?
I can conclusively deny your assumption. PeeWee Schwamborn, Wally Byam's cousin, has documented a lot of Airstream and WBCCI history various places on the web. (He formerly posted on this forum under the user name PeeWee but stopped posting more than a year ago.)

In any case, one of his jobs with Airstream was purchasing agent in charge of aluminum buying. He has a lot of good stories to tell about Airstream's aluminum. They bought the single-curved skin material from one manufacturer and the end shell material from another because one had a generally better finish but the other stretch formed better. (The two suppliers were Alcoa and Kaiser but I don't remember which was used for which.)

I really don't think there was that much surplus sheet aluminum lying around after WW II. Probably not enough to last until 1949, let alone 1969!

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Old 11-26-2011, 05:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Shacksman View Post
Well you can still buy alclad 2024 T3 .032, so part of your assumption is not quite right.

try here:

bought some before. great people to do business with....


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Old 11-26-2011, 06:37 PM   #17
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Interesting. That clears up my assumption... I would love to see this kind of information, and the dynamics that caused Airstream to make some of the decisions they made with regard to material use, documented before some of the players are gone.

One interesting tidbit I found via Kaiser Aluminum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is that Kaiser bought out three aluminum plants in the state of Washington (just before Airstream started to buy and use their aluminum).

I know (via relatives that worked at the plant in Spokane) that Kaiser was subsidized by the government, and bought the electricity used to run the plant for about a penny on the dollar.

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