WACO's history started in 1919 when businessmen Clayton J. Brukner and Elwood Junkin met barnstorming pilots Charley Meyers and George Weaver. Although their initial floatplane design was a failure, they went on to found the WACO company in 1920 and established themselves as producers of reliable, rugged planes that were popular with travelling businessmen, postal services and explorers, especially after the company switched to producing closed-cabin biplanes after 1924.
During World War 2, WACO produced large numbers of gliders for the RAF and US Air Force for airborne operations, especially during the Normandy Invasion and Operation Market Garden. The CG-4 Hadrian was the most numerous version produced.
The WACO company ceased operations in 1946, having suffered the fate of a number of general aviation companies when an anticipated boom in aviation following World War II failed to develop. The WACO Classic Aircraft company began in 1986 building its WACO Classic YMF, an upgraded version based on WACO's type certificated design.
In America, WACO (referring to the aircraft) is usually pronounced "wah-co" (the first syllable pronounced as in "water"), not "way-co" like Waco, Texas. There is a large collection of WACO biplanes at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum in Missouri.