Racine Boat Manufacturing Company

Years in Business: 
1893 - 1916
Company History: 

The Racine Boat Manufacturing Company (RBMC) of Racine, Wisconsin, was founded in November 1893 by Fred Martin, right after he left the Racine Hardware Manufacturing Company. Martin did not stay long; he left after about a year to start the Racine Yacht and Boat Works.

RBMC built a wide range of boats ranging from steam and gasoline yachts and launches, to schooners and other sailing craft, to canoes.

Peter Thompson, who would later form the Thompson Brothers Boat Manufacturing Company worked for RBMC from 1889 until the 1903 fire.

The RBMC factory burned down in 1903. Rather than rebuild in Racine, the company moved across Lake Michigan to Muskegon, Michigan.

The company went out of business in 1916.

Identifying Features: 

Canvas canoes built by the Racine Boat Manufacturing Company usually exhibit these features:

  • Heart-shaped deck
  • Carrying thwarts
  • White cedar planking
  • Untapered ribs not nailed directly to inwales
  • Bow seat mounted on cleats fastened to ribs.
  • Sheer plank in two pieces scarfed amidships
  • open gunwale canoes have outwale made of ogee molding
  • serial number in blue crayon on hull exterior
Models Offered: 

RBMC offered canoes built using traditional lapstrake construction (Indian Paddler, Canadian Paddler, and some 16/30 decked sailing canoes) and started building canvas covered canoes 1901-1902.

References: 
  • McGreivey, Jack. Is it a Racine? Or is it a Racine? Wooden Canoe 116:10-13 (April 2003)
  • Wheeler, Steve. 2002. The Racine Canoe, Part 2: The Racine Boat Manufacturing Company 1893 to 1916. Wooden Canoe 114:6-13 (Decemebr 2002).