Thursday, February 5, 2009

The 101st Post: Crane Paper Boats?

I noticed two things today. This is my 101st post as The Crane Insider, and I came across this picture, stuck in the corner of my Picasa files:

This is a 19th-century photograph of a Crane paper boat. I don't know exactly when it was taken, but my best guess is it's about 1875, and I'm pretty sure it was taken at the E.A. Waters paper boat (yes that's right) factory in Troy, N.Y. These boats were all the rage at the Saratoga Regattas for quite a while.

This is one example of many where paper was the medium of invention; the go-to material for experimentation. No aluminum, no plastic, no other engineered materials like we have today.

The paper for Waters' boats was made at Crane mills in Dalton and Westfield, Mass. They also made paper for paper collars, drive belts, hats, wastebaskets, umbrella stands, and (yes) observatory domes.

I'm thinking that I need to team up with a fashion designer to bring back the paper collar, but that's for another time.....

I know only a tiny bit about paper boats and other similar products, but I know somebody who really knows his stuff. Read on.

And thanks to all of you who have stopped by. I'm having fun, and I hope you are too.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Peter Hopkins:
I was interested not only in the subject of your Feb 5 2009 post on the Crane paper boat photo, but in the details of its survival. Corporate records are a major source of historical information precisely because successful corporations tend to long outlast individuals. All of the Waters & sons business records appear to have perished after their business closed. This little tidbit of history, the paper boat photo, presumably survived ONLY because Crane is still in operation.
It would be nice to know the rest of the story - how and why the photo still exists, whether by mere accident or by careful company record-keeping.
Larry Westlake