During that period, they were producing 10,000 boats per year from their plants in Michigan and New York. Many of those boats are still around today.In September 2011, with fellow Woody Boater Brian Fogarty (at wagemakerwolverineboats.com) Woody Boater published a feature story on the history of the Wagemaker Company and the (then) launch of Brian’s new Wagemaker Wolverine Boat Club website – a story we called The Wagemaker Company, Builder Of Wolverine Boats – Both Past & Present. (You can see that original story in the Woody Boater archive by clicking on the link above) Here’s an excerpt from that story, quoting Bob Speltz from The Real Runabouts IV:
Grand Rapids, Michigan always has been and still is the center for making wood furniture. Naturally enough, wooden boat building sprung up in the same general area based on advantages such as good skilled work force, excellent supplies of seasoned lumber, as well as varied types of transportation facilities for shipping and deliveries.
The Wagemaker Company was founded in 1896 by Isaac Wagemaker. The firm concentrated on making wooden cabinets, many of which were sold by the famous Macy Company of New York City. As conditions began to change and competition increased, Ray O. Wagemaker, one of Isaac’s sons, came into the business and in the year 1931 the firm started building wooden boats to complement their furniture division and keep their skilled wood workers busy during slack times. – Bob SpeltzSince that Wagemaker Wolverine story was published in 2011, along with some help of our friends at Google, we have received a constant stream of Wagemaker Wolverine inquiries, many from owners wanting to know more about their particular boats or looking for more information on the marque. We always try to respond and help with the inquires when we can.
Last week we received a different inquiry that caught our attention – from our new friend Patti. She was asking if we had any information about vintage 1950’s Wagemaker Wolverine Wakeboards (then referred to as Aqua Planes). We asked her to send us some photos and any more information she had on it, and we would try to help. Here’s what came back from Patti.
Thanks for your interest! My father purchased a cottage in Waterford, Michigan in about 1957. The previous owners left the Wagemaker board when they sold the cottage to him. I don’t know any more than that. I vaguely remember using it when I was a kid (I am 47 now).
My dad would pull us on it behind his boat. It’s ridiculously heavy and is 2 feet wide and about 6 feet long. I searched the Internet and found nothing resembling this type of board, except on Pinterest. Someone refinished a similar one and turned it into a kitchen table in a beach house. I thought that was a nice idea but wanted to see if it had any type of value to anyone before I altered it. I attached more pictures.
Thanks for your help! – Patti
Although I have seen a few different versions of these Aqua Plane boards over the years (Full disclosure – I actually remember using one behind the boat when I was a kid growing up at the lake) but have never seen a Wagemaker Wolverine version until now.
After seeing these photos of Patti’s, my first thought was that it was a standard home made wooden Aqua Plane board that maybe someone just applied a Wagemaker Wolverine transfer sticker on to match their Wagemaker boat.
So I went back into the Woody Boater Archives and found a few of Brian Fogarty’s Wagemaker brochures from the 1950s and sure enough (as shown above in the brochures) they produced a line of marine molded plywood water skis and aqua plane boards which were offered in their line of marine accessories.The water skis and aqua plane boards were offered with either a mahogany or enameled finish. Patti’s family was lucky to have a mahogany finish version, which is in surprisingly great condition considering it’s age. In terms of value, I’m not sure what it would be worth today, but would probably be of interest to a Wagemaker Wolverine boat owner to compliment his classic boat.
If anybody out there in Woody Boater land has any idea what the aqua plane is worth, please let us know. I would hate to see this wonderful piece of boating memorabilia be turned into a kitchen table.
These old Aqua Plane boards take me back to a time when there was no boom boxes or loud music required to get towed around the lake on warm summer days – the only sound was the old outboard purring along and the sweet smell of two-stroke oil.For more information on the Wagemaker Wolverine marque you can visit Brian Fogarty’s Wagemaker Wolverine Boat Club website by Clicking Here.