Chris Craft Triple Cockpit Painted
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The legend of Chris-Craft began in 1884 when Christopher Columbus Smith began
the Smith Boat House on the St. Clair River in Algonac, Michigan, to manufacture
small duck boats and power launches. Later, the company was extended to Chris
Smith and Sons Boat Co. Many of his larger runabouts were used as taxis; transporting
guests on the river front to resorts, or to various sightseeing attractions.
In the twenty's, mostly runabouts were produced, but with the introduction
of his speed boats, Chris Smith's fame took off. Chris-Craft was the largest
producer of mahogany boats in the country. In one year alone, one million feet
of mahogany was delivered. Truck load after truck load of Philippine Mahogany
would arrive at the factory daily. First, the lumber was air dried, then various
hull parts were laid out using templates and patterns, and the pieces were cut
into plugs to be cemented into the counter sunk holes of the screws. All scraps
were burned in the furnace for fuel so no wood was wasted.
The decade of the thirties showed a tremendous growth in the company despite
the market crash of 1929. However, in 1939, Chris Smith succumbed to an illness
which had begun to affect him years before. Even so, the death of Chris-Craft
did not deter the growth of the company. During the Forties, especially the
war years of '42 to '45, Chris Craft produced over 12,000 LCPR (Landing Craft
Personnel Raft) for the Army in addition to the 92 personal crafts that were
made. During this time, the "Barrel-Back" style was introduced. With
its pointed bow, and curved transom, it's sleek look took the market by storm.
The post-war economic boom at Chris-Craft was felt in increasing sales and the
new product lines. Even with a management change that took place in the early
eighties, Chris-Craft bounced back with sleeker designs and a greater market
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