Less than a century ago, in the summer of 1929, a talented businessman from Newtown, Iowa, built up his "private air office", as he called it. His name was Harry L. Ogg, President and Owner of Automatic Washer Company.
The aircraft owned by Mr. Ogg was called "Smiling Thru", a Travel Air Model 6000-B monoplane. Its cabin could seat 5 people and contained all the necessary equipment for the business: an office desk and a few office machines, among which an Ediphone for dictation, a typewriter and an interphone through which he could communicate with the pilot.
The pilot, Wilford Gerbracht, was also involved in the business as an agent. Instead of a flight attendant there was an "aerial secretary", hired by Ogg, - Katherine McBride.
Harry Ogg was indeed a witty businessman and realized what an important instrument his private airplane was in promoting his business. He created a special room with sample washing machines for demonstration - inside the cabin!
Time after time Ogg removed all the seats and equipment from "Smiling Thru" and carried his goods to demonstrate to eventual clients - up to 4 washing machines at a time.
Once landed, he managed to show the product in full action, as there was a specific plug-in power supply circuit, installed by Travel Air. This technological solution allowed to operate the washing machines when landed.
What`s more, Ogg also got a siren installed. That`s how he attracted future customers to his "office in the sky".
The pilot, being part of the team, flew lower over the city to draw residents` attention to "Smiling Thru". People would then throng the airport to know what all the "hype" was about - Ogg`s perfect moment to offload the machines and overfulfill his sales target.
"Smiling Thru" was kept in a special hangar which Harry painted in bright orange to match the style of his "private air office".
In just 2 years spent at the hangar the business aviation pioneer managed to fly more than 900 hours and carry over 9,000 people, covering 43 of the 48 states.
There`s no wonder that after all Ogg`s business grew into a successful and acknowleged international firm - Maytag Corporation.