Chris-Craft — A brief history of the Classic Boat Builder From 1874 to 1930

Columbus Smith built his first wooden boat in 1874 when he was just 13 yoa. This first boat was a lake boat designed for duck hunting. For the next seven years, Christopher Smith continued boat building on a in your free time basis. He seemed to have a natural talent for building boats from wood.

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In 1881, Christopher went into partnership regarding his brother Henry and began building wooden boats full time. Smith Inlaws Boat Contractors produced steam-powered boats ranging long from 25 to 40 feet. The wooden boats that the inlaws chris hsu abax produced were a great success and word spread quickly spread that their boats were of exceptional quality.

In 1901, the company changed its name to Joe Smith & Company Boat Contractors.

In 1910, the two inlaws, together with a number of other partners, formed the Smith Johnson Boat & Engine Company. At this time, the company concentrated on building fast, reasonably priced wooden ‘runabout’ boats for mass-market distribution. The company shown its products at the New york and Chi town Boat Shows. The Smith brothers’ reputation grew and grew. The boats that they built not only had style but they were comfortable too.

Around this time, the inlaws begun to research hull designs and more powerful petrol (petrol) motors. The result was highly innovative and extremely fast hull designs with elegant, sleek lines. This search for speed led to a pursuit in boat racing and, from 1914 to 1919, Christopher Smith’s boats won six consecutive American Power Boat Association Gold Cup racing awards. A Smiths built boat also won the 1920 Harmsworth Trophy and then, in 1921, another of their boats, Miss America II, set a new world speed record at over 80 miles hourly.

In 1922, the Smiths sold their remaining interest in the household boat yard to Gar Wood (who had helped to finance their racing activities). Christopher and his four sons, The author W., Bernard, Owen, and Hamilton, established a new company in Algonac, The state of michigan: Joe Smith & Sons Boat Company. Two years later the company became Chris-Craft. The company blossomed and the trustworthiness of Chris-Craft spread far beyond America; the brand became an internationally recognized symbol of performance and pleasure.

At first, Chris-Craft production averaged one powerboat each week. A young newspaper advertisement indicates that in the early 1920s four different Chris-Craft boats were available: a 24-foot, 18-mile-per-hour runabout which sold for $2, 200; a 26-foot backside drive single cockpit boat which sold for $2, 900; a 26-foot forward drive double cockpit which sold for $3, 000; and a 33-foot Baby Gar, a boat capable of high performance rates of speed from 50 to 60 miles hourly, which sold for $7, 500.

In the late 1920s, Chris-Craft began assembly line production at the Algonac manufacturing plant. Previously, all boats had been hand built. This move allowed Chris-Craft to extend its market to the middle class and it became one of the first mass producers of pleasure boats. The company used innovative advertising campaigns, which stated a piece of “the good life”, and sold boats on an instalment plan, which made them among the first powerboats available to the population.

In 1927, The author Smith, Chris’s son, became Us president and General Manager, a situation he held for 31 years. Chris-Craft was now the world’s largest builder of mahogany powerboats.

Clive writes about various business, internet and other interests, including wooden boat building [http://www.wooden-boat-building.com] from his base in Marazion in the far western side of the uk.

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