November 17, 2021

This Month in Herreshoff History: “Captain Nat’s Designs between 1900 and 1910”

L. Francis Herreshoff describes the origins of a beloved class, Captain Nat's clocks and forecasting, and a family tragedy...

L. Francis Herreshoff; HMM archive

"... There were generally three of them side by side in this production row, the first one upside down over her molds being planked; the next one turned right side up having her deck laid and interior built; while the last one had been set on her lead and was being finished off and painted. After they really got in production these boats shifted along in this production line at the rate of one a week... Of course most all the parts of these boats were prefabricated, and there was a pattern for each plank and other principal parts which were gotten out about eighteen at a time..."

Eighteen vessels completed at a rate of one per week? Yes, it's that famous chapter about the incredible production run of 18 New York 30's that took place over the winter of 1904-1905! This is just a tiny fraction of the activity that took place at HMCo. between 1904 and 1909, described in the latest installment of Captain Nat's serialized biography in Rudder Magazine. Follow the link below to read about the 30's, Captain Nat's Rivett lathe and weather observations, a family tragedy, and many, many boats.

This piece was originally published in the November 1950 issue, and would later become the second half of Chapter 11 of The Wizard of Bristol, the definitive biography of N.G.H. The Wizard of Bristol has been fully digitized and published as an e-book by our friends at the Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné, and we encourage you again to explore that fantastic digitally annotated resource. However, we thought you might also enjoy a reproduction of this chapter in its original format as it includes a number of additional photographs that did not make it into the final book.

Click here to read "Captain Nat's Designs between 1900 and 1910" as originally published in Rudder Magazine