November 20, 2011

Engines of a by-gone era

From The Rudder, 1911

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, when Thomas Fleming Day was the renowned editor of the equally renowned yachting magazine, The Rudder, there was a lot of interest in maritime engines for launches and sailboats.
Internal-combustion engines for yachts were still in the early stages of development in those days, of course, and manufacturers were springing up all over the place. There were literally scores of different makes of yacht engines to choose from. They weren't shy about proclaiming the merits of their wares, either. It's fascinating to read some of the claims they made.
Here are the texts of two advertisements from a 1911 copy of The Rudder:
No material purchased is too good, no workman is too expert, and no improvement device is too small, not to be utilized in building.
The engine is the heart of the launch, and heart disease in Motor Boats is most frequent, insidious and ofttimes appalling.
In owning a Speedway Engine, you fortify yourself with reasonable insurance against the malady, and


(Gas Engine and Power Co. and Charles L. Seabury & Co., Morris Heights, New York City)

("It Always Goes and Keeps Going until I Stop It")

(They) Are Ideal Yacht Engines

They are silent and powerful in operation and one of the surest and simplest engines to start and run.

While some men enjoy hearing the trip of steel rods, the snap of springs and cams, the smell of burning oil and grease--to one not accustomed to a roaring racket it takes all the pleasure out of cruising.

The nerve-racking moving parts have been eliminated in the LAMB--that's why it is an ideal yacht engine.

The absence of noisy or exposed moving parts is a revelation to many present engine users.

 (Lamb Boat and Engine Company, Clinton, Iowa/Lamb Engine Company of New York)
Today's Thought
Progress is the mother of problems.
— G. K. Chesterton
More sporting definitions:
Sumo wrestling: Survival of the fattest.
Fishing: The eternal try-angle.
Fencing: Getting a sword in edgeways.
Golf: Tee for two.
Surfing: A loaf on the ocean wave.
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

1 comment:

Aaron Headly said...

Jack London fitted a 70-horse auxiliary to the Snark back in 1911, and it jumped its mounts pretty much the first time they tried to use it.

They used it as ballast from San Francisco to Honolulu.

The entire book is online, and the first chapter recounts their struggles with the engine.

My favorite lines from the whole book are the exchange he has with his wife after the engine goes:

"Never mind," said Charmian, "think of what a staunch, strong boat she is."

"Yes," said I, "and of that beautiful bow."