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Outboard Motors and Industrial Espionage

July 12, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Multimedia presentation and tour of the Stevenson Outboard Collection.

1928 Chris Craft Cadet

In 1954 a tiny outboard motor company sued Chris Craft, the largest builder of mahogany boats in the world, for industrial espionage.  They settled their suit, and took their revenge.  This tale of industrial espionage began in 1874, when Chris Smith at the age of 13 starting building skiffs in Michigan.  In 1910 he founded a boatbuilding company which grew into the largest builder of mahogany boats in the world.  In 1930 the name of the company became Chris Craft and after World War II, Chris Craft was the largest boat builder in the USA.  Jay Smith, Chris Smith’s son, decided to get into the outboard motor business.  He hired four engineers away from a small company called Mercury Outboards, infuriating Mercury’s owner Carl Kiekhaefer.  Outboard motor collector Larry Stevenson tells the full story, as well as other tales from the history of outboard motors, with enthusiasm and passion.  Period illustrations and photos fully illustrate the lecture.

After the talk Larry Stevenson will conduct a tour of the newly opened Stevenson Outboard Collection, focusing on the outboard motors discussed in the presentation.

Admission is free, a suggested donation of $5 is appreciated.

This talk is presented by outboard motor collector and historian Larry Stevenson.  Larry is a Navy and Coast Guard Auxiliary veteran and a retired UPS International Industrial Engineering Manager in the international operation with a passion for industrial design, art, history, and sailing.


July 12, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm