With the death of the Matthews Boat Owners Association Executive Secretary Edna Johnson, the MBOA is convening this summer in Put-in-Bay Ohio to discuss their plans for establishing and maintaining a heritage site here in Ohio. Bob Reynolds, grandson of Scott Matthews, has been working hard on curating the Matthews collection and exhibit at the Sandusky Maritime Museum. With the opening of the new building at SMMA there is now room once again for this important exhibit. For more information contact the museum, on the contact page of their website http://www.sanduskymaritime.org
Watch the video below to find out what made Matthews Boat galleys so great
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On July 12th we interviewed Milton Long, the oldest living Matthews Boat Employee. Watch the video below to hear about his time at the Matthews Boat Company.
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ONWARD: Scott Matthews, Ohio’s visionary of affordable personal watercraft; A narrated documentary
An Epic Journey
People of vision always seem to find a way to succeed. In the 1890’s Bascom Ohio was certainly not the epicenter of the marine industry, in fact it was hardly even on the map. An innovator among his peers, young Scott Matthews had a vision of what was required to create a swift and resilient boat that was pleasant to look at. He developed a basic hull style that was strong, moved through the water cleanly and was attractive to the eye. His passion for boat building had grown his small fledgling company in just a few short years from basement dreams to full production. By 1900 his boat designs were gaining national attention from yachtsmen countrywide. In late 1904, burnt out from the stress of growing a successful company, Matthews envisioned a yearlong “relaxing and restful” boat trip from the farm fields of Ohio, down the Mississippi around Florida up the East Coast and back again to the Great Lakes. A novel trip for the times perhaps, and one that was certain to be fraught with drama and triumphs along the way. This was hardly a vacation for the timid. On November 11th the sleek 70 foot yacht “Onward” was ready to disembark on the first leg of its’ epic journey. The boat was sent by rail from Bascom on a specially designed cradle with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to Peoria Illinois. Matthews, his wife, three children, brother-in-law, nanny and a small crew boarded the beautiful custom built “Onward” to began a life changing journey south starting on the Illinois River. This voyage would provide a transcendent vision not only for Scott Matthews, family and crew, but for a future generation of boaters that followed the voyage in the periodical “The Motor Boat”. Imagine a boat with the fine qualities of a custom built craft, and the construction economies that would define a generation of mass-produced pleasure craft. “Onward” is a story of discovery aboard a boat that would launch Scott Matthews’ revolution in boat building.
Floating The American Dream
Scott J Matthews was a maritime visionary and American success story. The early beginnings of the Matthews Boat Company started in the basement of his home in Bascom, Ohio. By 1900 Matthews was building boats for the Lozier Company. Although the boats were powered by Lozier engines and marketed under their name, Matthews designed all the boats sold by Lozier. In 1904, “Standard”, a Matthews-built Lozier boat, turned in a speed of 23.6 mph on the Hudson River and won the first ever Gold Cup Race (The Gold Cup is the worlds oldest most prestigious motor sport contest). Two years later, a group of businessmen from Port Clinton Ohio, enticed Matthews to leave Bascom and relocate in Port Clinton where there was deep water and East Coast access necessary for building and marketing larger boats. The plant was completed in 1906 just after the epic journey of “Onward”. The plant produced Matthews’ boats until it closed 70 years later.
After the move, the Matthews Company, continued to prosper, building quality boats that became world-renowned. During World War I, The Matthews Boat Company delivered 110 sub chasers. During the 13+ years of Prohibition, Matthews built fast boats for both the rumrunners and those who chased them – the U. S. Coast Guard. World War II had the company building troop landing craft. Throughout the company’s history, Matthews continued to build pleasure boats. All the boats were custom prior to 1924, then beginning in 1924 the Matthews Boat Company became the first to build stock-built boats – the famous Matthews 38 appeared in 1924 – an idea Scott Matthews originated in order to provide year-round work for his employees. The concept of “stock” boats made it possible for the average family to afford and enjoy the delights of boating.
Between the Waves- This wonderful story is told through the revelations included in the log of the “Onward” journal printed in “The Motor Boat” written by Scott Matthews and augmented by the personal knowledge of Bob Reynolds, Matthews’ grandson and longtime employee of the Matthews Boat Company. The story is supported with photos taken by Matthews’ brother-in-law Simon Miller, and with new video footage shot along the route to help tell the story. The weave of the captain’s log story with the Matthews Boat Company history allows us to expand on all the necessary requirements and adjustments made in the shake down cruise of the “Onward” as they became the foundation of boats to come. Matthews’ log explains how they continued to learn about the important requirements that his boat needed to be a steady, efficient and dependable cruiser. The creature comforts, the space allocations and the general dynamics of the boat, power to weight, prop design, engine mechanicals, heat and air conditioning discovered during the trip are part of the descriptions and flavor of the journey’s tribulations. The presentation brings this wonderful piece of Ohio history to life highlighting innovations juxtaposed with the journeys adventures outlined in Scott Matthews detailed log published by “The Motor Boat”.
The Log of the Onward- from the personal collection of Bob Reynolds
“The Motor Boat” a magazine, 12/25/1905, 5/10/1907, 5/25/1907-from the personal collection of Bob Reynolds
The Matthews Legend-April 1990, Lakeland Boating Magazine by Joseph A. Tringali
Southern Crown Boatworks-Matthews Boat Owners Association, 1998
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