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Launches and Yachts

The original title page reads: “Launches and Yachts; Electric Power in the Ideal Pleasure Launches, Passenger Boats, and Yacht Tenders; Gasoline Power for Cruising and Long-distance Service in Cabin Launches and Yachts, also Sail Yachts; The Electric Launch Company.” The title page verso reads “…Catalog 10….”
Elco’s sumptuous brochure, now a century old, is the touchstone from the electric era. Twenty boat styles, from eighteen to sixty-three feet are illustrated and described in detail, some with photos of the boats in use.

Motors, controllers, batteries and charging stations, and the duty involved in caring for the boats, are illustrated with photos and renderings, showing that the task was as simple then as it is for an owner today. (Many “Elcos” survive, and they are manufactured today by a revived Elco; see their website at Elliott Bay Steam Launch Co. makes replica fanatail hulls for 23-foot electrics, and replica deck hardware like mounted on Elcos.)

World’s Fair boats from Chicago Columbian Exposition, 1893, Atlanta Exposition, 1895, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901, are shown along with passenger boats in New York’s Central Park. Elco’s supplied models specifically for rental fleets called “charter” and “passenger” launches, boats appointed with less finery, and made with a passenger entrance hatches and “street car type roller curtains.”

Numerous gasoline powered boats and their engines are illustrated, some sail auxiliaries, and some “gasoline cruising cabin launches.” This book is for anyone who owns an Elco, or who enjoys the basic elegance of these boats’ lines. The catalog is a glimpse into the leisure activities of the wealthy class of 1902.

Launches and Yachts, With Introduction and Notes by William C. Swanson
ISBN 0-930597-001, Illustrated Soft Cover, 8 1/2” x 6,” Landscape Format, 125 pages, 60+ b&w photos, 20+ line drawings and diagrams, renderings, and tables.


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