1920's Wooden Boat

by Bill C.
(Hartland, MI)

Hope someone can help identify my 16' row boat.

All I know about it is from verbal history.

It was built in the 1920's and has been stored since the owner died in 1936.

It is from New Baltimore, MI which is near Algonac at the top of Lake St. Clair where a lot of boat building was done in that era.

It is a very solid boat built from what looks like fir with white oak decking.

So far I have not found any rot on the boat and the bronze fasteners seam to be in good condition.

Construction is single plank batten and seam.

The unusual looking hardware is brass liftring, breastplate cover, cutwater, and transom trim.

And copper deck nails with a star molded into the head.

It is a very narrow boat - only 45" at the widest point and 33" at the transom.

I'm thinking it could be a very early build from one of the big guys like Dunphy, Century, or Chris Craft, but is more likely from some start-up boat company that didn't make it.

It has the hull shape of the Dodge boats from the thirties, albeit much narrower.

And the construction of a Century, but I don't think they go back that far.

My current thinking is to make it an electric launch with a Torggedo motor and a full canopy - something like you would see from The Canadian Electric Boat Co.

Not sure on that so any input will be appreciated.

Hope you guys can help - enjoy the site very much,



Comments for 1920's Wooden Boat

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Jun 06, 2022
1926 Dunphy
by: Bill

Would love to see a photo of a finished boat.

Jun 05, 2022
by: Anonymous

I have one just like that but newly restored.

Was told by the restorer it's a '26 Dunphy.

Jul 23, 2019
by: Scott

Bill, There is a hull in Fenton Michigan that looks like your hull, its an inboard with the star shaped nails fastening the decks, please contact me, 810-429-0070

Nov 17, 2011
Electrifying a Dunphy(?)
by: Anonymous

Hi Bill,

Sorry I can't shed any light on your boats origins.

But she is a fine looking craft, best wishes with her restoration.

I like your ideas for electrifying her, unfortunately electrifying a boat doesn't run cheap.

However it is the way to go as more and more places are banning combustion engines from their lakes.

And some places such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria are providing the necessary infrastructure for charging electric motors.

Rechargeable lithium-polymer batteries weigh only a quarter as much as conventional lead batteries so weight is not such a problem anymore.

The only drawback is that they need to recharge for at least six hours at a strong power source, or 10 hours at a normal household outlet.

Nov 09, 2011
May be "Dunphy"
by: Bill C

My research is zeroing in on a 1927 Dunphy V bottom outboard.

I discovered two old advertisements that show Dunphy made a batten and seam 16' with 48'' beam outboard.

The photocopy images are small but the hull shape looks right and all the details in the ads agree with my boat.

However, I have not been able to find any name or numbers on the boat to confirm identity.

The ads are from the Bob Speltz cd and his book - The Real Runabouts vol. IV.

Unfortunately the images are not clear enough to verify hardware or construction.

Most Dunphys were plywood, but the ads clearly states they also made boats like this.

Sure would be great to see a more detailed photo.

As always, any help will be greatly appreciated.

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