click on top photo for more views of this ship model
Some of the best looking and best built American working model steam vessels of the early 20th cdentury were constructed by 'Boucher, Inc., 415 Madison Avenue, N.Y.C. in the period 1910 - 1930. Boucher was also well known for creating 'Builder's models' for shipping companies, museums, and the United States Government. The company was held in very high regard occupying the same position in the USA as the famous Basset Lowke company in Britain .
This impressive Boucher fast speedboat model has a beautiful hull based upon the best marine architect's designs of the period. The true water-tube boiler and fine two cylinder 'High Speed' steam engine were designed , built, and signed by Boucher. The boiler was fired by a specially made small 'blowtorch'. No effort was spared to build the best and fastest model possible. Serious model boat enthusiasts, and those who raced their boats, could have Boucher build a speedboat to their order. It would appear the boat pictured above is 'special order' in that the boiler is somewhat larger than that shown in a Boucher catalog of 1922 for their 36" hull series designated, 'Dolphin, Displacement Hydroplane Steam Power Boat'. I would seem whoever ordered this boat wanted more steam!
According to a 1922 Boucher catalog this speedboat would have cost its owner from $120.00 to $140.00. In the same year a new Model 'T' Ford cost $300.00 - $400.00. The buying, tuning up, and running/racing a Boucher steam speedboat was for the serious enthusiast.
This model is very finely built with black laquered hull, red below the waterline, and natural varnished mahogany deck. The hull interior is a marine gray.All fittings are brass. The boiler and 'blowtorch' are brass with copper and brass steam tubing, and the engine is machined steel with cast aluminum case. The model has all its proper operating controls - throttle, steam guage, safety valve ,exhaust vented through stack, and blowtorch fill cap and flame valve.
The boat is in fine condition. The hull exterior looks to be an old finish with nice patina as does the mahogany deck. All brass and copper parts have a very attractive age patina with the engine cylinder cover retaining its original 'gunblue' finish.
Models of this genre were intended to be used, and go fast. Though beautiful they were not meant for static display. Very often they were subject to hard usage and accidents.....some of which could have been explosive! Consequently only a small number of these fine Boucher steam speedboats have survived.
This fine steam powered model is a classic of American design and fine craftsmanship .
Please view the several pages of overall and detail pictures of this model by clicking on the picture above and following directions on succeeding pages.
length of hull 36", overall length 38", beam 9", overall height 13"