Written by Rex Ennis
posted on December 13, 2011 07:18
The summer of 1904 proved to be the debut in quantity of the gasoline launch in the Thousand Islands. The Syracuse Post Standard of 5 June 1904 noted the increased popularity of gasoline powered launches. “New Launches Galore Will Ply The River” was the newspaper’s headline. The story goes on to detail the increase.
During the past winter and spring fully 100 of them , varying in length from twenty to forty feet in length, have been at Alexandria Bay alone, while fully twenty-five have been constructed at Clayton.
Of the scores of small gasoline crafts which will be put in commission for the first time this summer, a large number have been built by or for the use of former oarsmen who will use them instead of skiffs for carrying fishing and other parties. A number of carpenters who do work among the islands have built launches to facilitate transportation to and from their work.
Perhaps the most interesting of all the new launches was Supply built for the old Standard Oil Company by A. E. Furniss, of Alexandria Bay and commissioned by E. M. Brown, Syracuse manager for the company. If any of you have carried five gallon cans of gas to your boat or cottage then you will certainly appreciate the Supply’s utilitarian value. It delivered gasoline to island homes! With a capacity of 4,200 gallons it plied “among the islands supplying this fluid to stores and owners of launches.”
The Syracuse Post Standard continued in the 5 June 1904 article with this detailed description of the Supply.
The boat is 60 feet in length over all, with a 10 foot 10 inch beam. It has a mahogany finished deckhouse. It is equipped with a 20 horsepower Standard engine and cost in the neighborhood of $7,000. To all outward appearances the Supply is a handsome pleasure launch, and is a welcome addition to the river fleet.
While the launch was constructed in Alexandria Bay; the Standard Engine was built in New Jersey by the Standard Motor Construction Co. of Jersey City. Standard Marine Engines became prominent in boat racing and where considered top of the line.
By Rexford M. Ennis, Grindstone Island
© Copyright Rexford M. Ennis 2010, All Rights Reserved
Rex Ennis has written several articles for TI Life. His bio is recorded in Contributors in December, 2008. In the past two years Rex has published two important books on the Thousand Islands. The first , published in 2010 is Toujours Jeune Always Young the biography of Charles G. Emery. It was reviewed in June 2010 issue. The second, Saints, Sinners and Sailors of the Gilded Age: A compendium of biographical sketches centered on the Gilded Age in the Thousand Islands which describes the biographies of every name appearing on a 1889 map published by Frank H. Taylor called: Map of the Thousand Islands; Hotels, Parks and Cottages. See the book review in our July 2011 issue and you will find the map described in the July issue in the August 2011 issue.