Don M. Alexander and J. Don Alexander - Honored 1970
Don M. Alexander was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, March 11, 1893, J. Don Alexander was born January 1, 1895 in St. Louis.
In Washington state the brothers started in business in the electrical contracting field, but in 1924, they came to Colorado to start what would become the nationally famous Alexander Film Company the world's largest producer of theater and television advertising films. They were nationally recognized for their pioneering work with color films. During this time, they visualized sending their salesmen across the country by air to give them an edge over the competition. They asked a major manufacturer of aircraft for a bid to build them fifty aircraft. This request was discarded as a hoax, so they decided to build their own planes. The result was the Alexander Eaglerock biplane that was designed by Al Mooney, one of the early giants of American aviation.
The Eaglerock was an immediate success, for a time filling their own film distribution needs and providing an opportunity to sell aircraft to the general public. Their initial factory was on South Broadway in Englewood, Colorado. After a disastrous fire in this facility the entire operation was moved to Colorado Springs, where at the height of production in 1928 as many as eight planes per day were produced, the highest production rate in the entire country. The Eaglerocks were produced with seven different engines, the first being the OX-5, and later the famous Wright radials. With a staff of 700 employees, in the combined film and aircraft shops, a total of about 1500 airplanes were produced. Eventually they were selling so many planes to the public that they could no longer provide planes for their own film salesmen. One of these Eaglerocks is now permanently on display at the Denver International Airport.
Charles Lindbergh test-flew an Alexander Eaglerock and inquired into its availability, with a Wright engine, for his transatlantic flight. Only the success of this plane and the number of people on the waiting listed prevented the Alexander management from taking his order for a plane. Lindbergh said that this was the finest flying plane he had ever flown.
The Alexanders next produced the Alexander Bullet, a beautiful and innovative low-wing, closed cabin plane with retractable gear. However, the Bulletís spin recovery characteristics were not satisfactory. This problem was not resolved and accordingly the aircraft not put into production. Only about eleven Bullets were built. They also designed the D-2, a two-seat, high-wing monoplane and a few were sold, but it was not generally successful. The great depression in 1929 put an end to the company when sales fell and by 1931 the company was no longer viable. The remaining parts inventory at that time was used to make the Alexander Primary Gliders. The companyís buildings were purchased by the Aircraft Mechanics Company which manufacturers aircraft seats and aviation related accessories.
Don M. retired from the company in 1957 and dedicated much of this time to civil activities, especially the Boy Scouts in which he held a number of high offices. He established Camp Alexander, a scout camp at Lake George, and was recognized with many community awards for his works.
J. Don was the recipient of many awards in the film business and worked in community affairs. In 1929, he donated a four year scholarship in aeronautical engineering and business aviation at the Guggenheim School of Aviation to help young people interested in this growing field. This scholarship was the first of its kind.
J. Don Alexander died in February 1955, and Don M. Alexander passed away in February 1971.