HMCo. #1424

Hull No: HMCo. #1424

1937 Columbia Power Tender

Length Over All: 14′ 1″
Beam: 4′ 8″

Henry Ford owned an 1892 Herreshoff steam yacht in the 1930s named TRUANT (HMCo. #172). By 1937 TRUANT would have been a quaint anachronism with its Herreshoff steam plant, to the likes of Henry Ford: diesel and gasoline engines had almost universally replaced steam and electric propulsion by that time, in part thanks to Ford’s own booming car industry. Ever the tinkerer, Ford decided to re-power TRUANT in 1937 with a steam plant of his own design, but built by HMCo. At the same time, he commissioned this diminutive little power tender to go with the larger steam yacht. 


This launch model was advertised in the Herreshoff Yacht Fittings catalog from 1937, price on request. The advertisement stated a carrying capacity of 4-5 persons and a cruising speed of 6 m.p.h. Despite their best efforts at advertising, only three of these motor launches were ever built. Two were launches for the George Owen-designed schooner FONTINALIS, #396 or #397 in November 1935, and the third was HMM’s launch for TRUANT, #1424s which was built in June 1937. 


TRUANT’s tender was discovered in a barn in Indiana in the late 2010s, and was acquired by HMM in 2021. It is the definition of a “barn find,” virtually untouched apart from a modification of the steering system from a yoke arrangement to tiller. #1424 came to HMM with its original engine, which is on display adjacent to the boat, and many accessories. Its originality and its connection to Ford & the larger steam yacht TRUANT make it an especially compelling acquisition for HMM.

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