Oba St. Clair


Oba worked in his father's sawmills in East Lewiston and Orofino, Idaho. He started at the age of 10 as a timber faller’s helper, progressed to driving a team of horses skidding logs, then to four-horse team and wagon moving logs to the mill.

Oba is a self-educated man. He never reads fiction, but enjoys reading anything he can about engineering. He worked his way into the mill where he became head sawyer and millwright.

Oba designed several pieces of heavy-duty equipment that improved the output of the mill and made life much easier. When his father sold the mill, Oba worked for the new owner as a designer of small sawmills and sawmill equipment.

Oba could see that the timber would soon run out and he would have to move to a new location or find new work. He chose to become a watchmaker. He finished a one-year course in three months and in 1946, went to work for Skeies Jewelry in Eugene, Oregon, and worked there until he retired in 1976.

Just as our country pulled together in a common bond of interest and direction in the early space flights, and more recently in the hostage crisis, so it was in 1927.

When Charles Lindbergh touched down his Spirit of St. Louis in LeBourget Field outside Paris in May 1927, the world was turned on to aviation and would never be the same again. Air travel increased 500%. Requests for pilot licenses increased by 300% the following year.

Information about Oba St. Clair is taken from two articles that appeared in Model Builder magazine’s November and December 1981 issues. The articles were written by Charles Mackey and Dale Kirn. Charles Mackey submitted the information to the AMA History Program.