The motor boat exhibit, which was held last week in the Grand Central Palace in this city, showed nothing radically new for 1908. There were a number of large 40-foot cruisers and pleasure craft with elaborate cabins on exhibition in the main hall, while the exhibit of engines and accessories in the spaces around this hall was that which attracted the most attention. The craze for speed, which was predominant a few years ago, seems to have died out, and practically all of the craft shown were intended for comfort and pleasure rather than for racing. A favorite type seems to be the -hunting cabin launch, which type of boat has an inclosed cabin projecting above the deck at the forward end and followed at the stern by an open cockpit. Among the smaller boats shown were several launches of moderate cost. The only racing craft exhibited was the "Den." Among the large engines displayed were the Craig motor, used in the boat "Ailsa Craig," which won the Bermuda race last spring. The small 2-cycle engine was to be found in large numbers. The tendency in the design and equipment of this type of motor seems to be the lightening in weight of the engine, and the fitting of it with positive oil feeds supplied by gravity or by a mechanical lubricator. The reversing gear is another part of the motor boat which has received special attention. There were a half dozen different types of clutch and reverse gear shown. Most of these employed metal-to-metal clutches and spur planetary gears. One improved device of this sort made use of a jaw clutch with coiled springs arranged to take up the shock when the clutch is thrown in, while the reverse is obtained by friction disks, which are forced in contact with disks on the driving and driven shafts respectively. Several improvements were noted in the method of starting the motor. One starting device consisted of a crank placed beside the tiller, and connected through a chain to a shaft running along in the bottom of the boat to the motor. Another arrangenent of this kind consisted of a crank placed back of the motor, and made to turn it through gears which gave a considerable reduction, thus making it possible to start the motor without relieving the compression. The arrangement in the steering wheel of the spark and throttle control levers, similar to that used in an automobile, also seems to be quite general. There were a large number of accessories, such as exhaust-operated whistles, electric lights, ignition dynamos and batteries, etc., on exhibition. One of the most novel of these was a speed indicator, which is claimed to show at any moment the speed at which the boat is running.
This article was originally published with the title "The Motor Boat Show at the Grand Central Palace" in Scientific American 97, 25, 455 (December 1907)