1898 Motorboat

Builder Unknown
Length 16’
Beam 4’
Hull Wood carvel built
Engine Single cyl, 4 stroke, petrol, bore 3”, stroke 3”

This small motorboat was never named and so is known by the date when she was constructed. It is thought to have been built in the Eastern USA around 1898 but the maker has never been identified. The vessel has a vertical bow and counter stern, the hull is painted white with upper works and the cockpit lining is varnished. The overall length is 16 feet and the beam is 4 feet.

The hull construction follows American practice being built largely of 2 ¼ inch planks, decked except for a central cockpit that is 11 feet 3 inches long. Her early form of internal combustion engine is particularly interesting and appears to have been converted from a two stroke into a four stroke. A variable pitch propeller enables the boat to be reversed, this is worked by hand from a mechanism on the shaft which pulls the blades over gear wheels to alter the pitch for forward or astern.

History and ownership

It is claimed the boat was exhibited at the Paris World Fair in 1900; which celebrated international achievements of science, engineering and industry. The vessel was brought to Windermere soon after the exhibition and was acquired by a Mr Tomlinson in 1903 whose family used the boat for leisure purposes.

The vessel was found by George Pattinson in 1955 lying in a compost heap at the end of a garden in Windermere. Fortunately the engine had been removed from the vessel and kept safe and dry in a shed.

Restoration plans

The vessel was displayed at the Windermere Steamboat Museum from its opening in 1977 as a floating exhibit; however it was later removed from the water to aid its preservation.

The interior lining in this boat is original, this will be carefully stripped back in order to thoroughly inspect the hull. The hull will then be treated for any problems that are found. The conservation plan includes investigation into possible unoriginal features on the boat that will be researched and corrected. The paint on the exterior of the hull will be stripped and then re-painted and the interior re-varnished. Once restored, the 1898 motorboat will be featured in the main exhibition space at the Museum. 

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