Thanks to “The Antique Boat Museum” in Clayton NY for sharing some chilling images from the Museums Collection. It’s always heart warming to know that Woody Boating goes on 365 days a year if you use your imagination! Here is the story from The Antique Boat Museum. Also great to know the museum is open all year here on Woody Boater!
Air boats are not just for ferrying tourists around the Florida Everglades as residents of the 1000 Islands can tell you. Air boats, or In-and-Outers as some call them due to the ease with which the boat would travel from ice to water and back, have been around the Islands since the early 1900s and were preceded by and used alongside ice punts rigged with sails. Consisting of an airplane-style propeller mounted on a flat, waterproof hull, they can skid over ice, snow, or open water to get back and forth from islands in the winter and shoulder-seasons.
This airboat from the Museum’s collection was built by Ira Bruce of Alexandria Bay, circa 1950. Bruce worked for Hutchinson’s Boat Works and Rogers Marine, but his real interest was building what he called “in-and-out boats.” These were distinguished from “ice punts”, which he described as “Nothing more than a packing box with a motor.” This boat, with airplane motor, air rudder, and braking system, was one of the first refined airboats in the region. It is powered by a Continental W670-9A, a seven cylinder radial engine most famous as the powerplant for the Stearman Model 75 biplane.
Ira’s work on In-and-out boats followed in his father’s footsteps. Charles Ira Bruce developed the final design used by most ice boats in the 1000 Islands by 1927. Ira’s work focused on fine tuning Charles Ira’s design. Among the changes made were: removing the pointed nose and the side step, extending the length of the boat and moving the motor further back in the craft, devising a brake and rudder system, and adding a Plexiglas windshield. Removing the side step made the boat less susceptible to freeze ups as the motor and brakes were covered by the body of the boat. When he moved the motor further back, Ira was drawing inspiration from the way skiers stood over the front of their skis for better balance. Moving the motor and lengthening the boat gave the boat more power, made it lighter, and helped it run faster on the water. Ira’s rudder system consisting of both an air rudder and a water rudder gave the boat maneuverability since one or other or both could be used.
Below are some cool ice boat images from the Museums archives.
Colored version of 1947 photo of ice punt with Emmet Dodge, Jack Garnsey, Manley Rusko, Bill Halloway, Bob Garnsey, Lawrence Garnsey headed to Grindstone Island[/caption]
YOU CAN VISIT THE ANTIQUE BOAT MUSEUM’S WEBSITE HERE