Yesterday we had a fun day learning about Captain Grumpy and his latest wooden boat he found up in New Hampshire. We learned it was originally purchased from Sears, Roebuck & Company in 1956 as a Kit Boat – manufactured by Chris-Craft.
Now we have another interesting story of a boat from up in the Northeast – This time it’s in Maine.
Back in January we received a comment from fellow Woody Boater Rowan who was trying to learn more about a 1952 ELGIN outboard boat that his grandfather purchased in 1952 from Sears in Trenton, New Jersey. As we often do here at Woody Boater, I decided to do some research on the Elgin marque before we published the story, but I had a difficult time determining exactly who built these boats for Sears back in the day. So I guess you could say Rowan & I are in the same boat… Get it? Here’s what Rowan sent us, which is very cool.
Texx – I have a 1952 ELGIN that looks just like a Wagemaker. I am trying to verify for sure that Sears bought from Wagemaker in the early 50s. And, if I have a Wagemaker, what model? If I can figure this out, I have a great story for you – one that is 61 years old spanning 4 generations. Thanks, Rowan.
The following 4 photos are all of the same boat.
This photo is from 1953 with my dad piloting the boat. See ELGIN on stern. Back then it had a rear helm.
My question is – “Who did Sears buy this boat from? I have heard Yellow Jacket or Theakston or Industrial Shipping (Halifax) or Angler or Wagemaker or Wolverine or Fageol and one more I can’t remember the name but it sounds like marine casts and was in the midwest.”
Thanks for your help – Rowan
What a great story Rowan, it’s so cool to have the opportunity to see a boat that’s been close to your family for almost 57 years, and now see the same boat saved from the burn pile. So we are reaching out to the Woody Boater community today in an attempt to learn more about who exactly designed, built and supplied these ELGIN wooden outboards for the Sears and Roebuck Company back in the early 1950’s?
To us, the idea of simply walking in to your local Sears Roebuck store on Satuday morning back in the early 50’s and buying a reasonably priced wooden outboard (easy for us to say now) with an outboard motor, maybe with a Tee Nee trailer with teardrop fenders and all the recreational boating accessories, maybe some fishing gear, etc is so cool… I wonder if you could even buy it on the easy payment plan which Sears was famous for back then – even better! And tow it to the lake with your 51 Ford sedan the following weekend for some water skiing, fishing or just some good old recreational boating with the family.
Here are a few nice period brochures we found at elginoutboards.com – this is a good webiste for all things ELGIN.
And you could also buy a wide range of ELGIN Kit Boats from Sears back in the day. Note in the following brochure what looks like a small outboard cabin cruiser and also a lapstrake sportsman boat…
And before the days of “Cash For Clunkers” – Heck, you could even buy an Allstate car from Sears back in the early 1950’s
Thanks in advance,
Update from Don Danenberg – March 15, 5:00 PM
We received the following comments from our friend, restorer and noted author Don Danenberg this afternoon.
Here’s some more info for your Elgin research.
Check Vol-4 of Bob Speltz’s Real Runabouts series, Chapter 2. Lots of photos that he might use to match up a hull style?
Very good descriptions and photos of hot-molded hull construction.
I have a couple of Elgin engines, the 2-cyl (certified 8-hp, yikes!) has a Sears Roebucks tag.
The 1-cyl doesn’t have a tag but cast into the flywheel is “Wico Electric Co. – West Springfield, Mass.”
He vaguely recalled hearing of sales to Sears…, BUT, he worked in the furniture division (rip-saw), not the boat division, so no joy there.
Ollie Wagemaker III might still live in Grand Rapids, MI, but he’s no longer in the directory and I haven’t found his number or spoken to him in a decade, the guy might follow up on that?
I think Tommy Holmes had the best answer, MANY different suppliers?
Thanks Don – We always appreciate your insight and comments here at Woody Boater.