Tom Thumb Cruisers? Company Or Boat?



On ebay, which is a 24/7 boat show and flea market, I found this small post card. What attracted me to this is the boat! I MUST HAVE A BOAT LIKE THIS! No, not just a small boat. Those are around, but a vintage boat like this. It has history, and would look great in the office. This type of boat can be like a pocket puppy. Heck, you may even be able to put it in the overhead compartment on a flight someplace. But for sure, its a fun project, and worthy of a family room sculpture, or artistic statement.

I looked, no website! Come on! Maybe thats why they went out of business…

But here is the big question, since you all saved my aft on the Chris Craft Speedometer. Is Tom Thumb Cruisers the name of the company that offered these small boats for rides? Or is it a Tom Thumb Boat Brand? Like all the Tom Thumb toys of the period. I get the feeling that Tom Thumb was a generic term for small stuff during the time. And this boat looks like it was before Tom Thumb Toys were made.

Ca ching!

I had one of these

Turns out Tom Thumb dates back to the 1600’s at part of English fairy tale.

THis might have been before the boat in Miami, in fact, before Miami.

Copyright 1888. I reached out to there lawyers. Great great great grandson. He isaid okay!

PT Barnum and Tom Thumb. LOVE THE HAT!

Tom Thumb is the subject of several films. In the 1930’s 40’s and 50’s mostly cartoons. Regardless of the Tom Thumb history, what is this boat? I got a hankering for one! Here may be a short trailer to take you back to a different time!

18 replies
  1. Bob Kays
    Bob Kays says:

    Now that I see his photo, I think Tom Thumb was at the WB Holiday Party. At one point I think DIM was trying to sell Tom a boat, Tom told him to get lost. Then Tom and Zip were in a corner hatching a plan of some kind. Last I saw him, Tom was leaving in a really small boat with one of Troy’s guests.

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Wow! It isn’t even officially winter yet and we have resorted to talking about tiny men and mini-boats. We might need an intervention this year. Maybe a crowdfunding campaign to send Matt down under for a couple weeks of boating and story gathering?

  3. Tim Robinson
    Tim Robinson says:

    When I was a kid I remember seeing small wood boats like the pic. Operating on a small park/lake in downtown LA. Also on lake Greagory a small lake near Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear lake. They were you drive rental boats. I wonder if any survived?

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    I have a restored 1921 Old Town Charles River hanging in my office today. Does anyone recall the episode of the Little Rascals where Alfalfa was driving the mini runabout in a race or something…Darla was with him (Troy and I lusted for her). I always loved that little boat scene.
    John in Va.

  5. JimF
    JimF says:

    I have a amusement park ride boat that I have yet to restore. It arrived unpowered but it originally had a small engine in the rear. There was a drive shaft under the floorboards that connected to a drive unit under the front deck. This was basically a lower unit like for an outboard motor that went through the bottom of the boat. It was connected to the steering wheel for directional control. There was a brass arrow on the deck that pointed in the direction you wanted to go!

  6. Martin Field
    Martin Field says:

    In England, both Gt. Yarmouth Ornamental Gardens, near the Beach Station and Oulton Broad, where they still have Hydroplane racing every Thursday evening in Summer, had tiny Pop Pops as we called them. Single cylinder engines. My Dad could always make them go faster than intended and get further out to the river from Oulton Broad. Indeed that’s the point where I tipped his and Mum’s ashes. I think Valentine’s Park in Ilford also had pop-pops. I loved them.

    • Matt
      Matt says:

      I have seen a bunch of post cards out of England that have boats like this. More constructed and designed. Also seen some in New Jersey. More on this tomorrow. Been a fun journey

  7. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    When I was a kid, my local amusement park had little boats like that. I just loved those things. I suppose they would be considered unsafe and a liability in today’s world. Great memories!

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