Model Power Boat Racing [1907]

The Branger Cup Race For Miniature Motor-Boats

By the Paris correspondent of the Scientific American

Considerable interest was recently manifested in Paris in a series of races for model motor boats. A cup for one of these events was presented by M. Branger, a well-known French photographer of sporting subjects. The races were held on the lake of the Bois de Boulogne over a course some 150 meters (492.125 feet) in length, and they were watched with interest not only by the children but by their elders as well.

Some of the little craft traversed the distance at surprising speed, and a number of the curious forms of miniature launches were to be seen. One of the conditions of the contests was that none of the competitors was to exceed 5 feet in length. Some of the latter were considerably smaller; in fact one of the winners was but 23.6 inches long. There were twenty-four starters in the races, which were watched with great interest by a large crowd of spectators.

There were races for different classes and a special class contested for the cup. Some of the boats were driven by electricity, while others were provided with explosive motors; one of the latter was of 1ΒΌ horse-power and was a single-cylinder, air-cooled motor fitted with high-tension magneto ignition, fly-wheel, friction clutch, etc.

Despite a damp and rainy day, these toy racers made a very fair performance, as can be seen by the following table of winners:

Racers, .60 meters(23.62 inches) in length Winner, Girard IV (owned by Girard) 2 min. 27 sec.
Racers, 1 meter (39.37 inches) Winner, L'Eclair (Leroy & Breton) 2 min. 47 sec.
2. Girard III 4 min. 30 sec.


The winner of this event was given the superb all-silver medal donated by Les Sports.

Racers 1½ meters (59.05 inches) 1. Girard I 1 min. 5 sec. (5.16 miles an hour)
2. Lorraine(owned by Pierre de Fontbrune) 1 min. 50 sec.
3. Catarina, (Letang) 2 min. 45 sec.


The race for the "Coupe Branger" was won by the Girard I in 1 min. 20 sec. L'Eclair was second in 2 min. 20 sec.; and Lorraine was third in 2 min. 25 sec. The consolation prize was won by Catarina in 1 min. 16 sec. This first toy motor boat meet was very amusing, and was attended and directed by several constructors of motor boats, who gained not a little information as to the speed capabilities of different forms of hulls.

(Transcribed from Scientific American, Feb. 23, 1907, p. 166. )

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page. — LF]