Power Boating in Buffalo [1906]

Motor Boat Boom In Buffalo

by H. V. Bisgood Jr.

Rapidly are the ranks of the motor boat owners on the Niagara frontier being recruited with staunch admirers of the gasoline launch. Today, the craft plying the Niagara River between Buffalo, the Tonawanda and Niagara Falls are numbered in three figures as against a handful but six years ago. How different, too, is the manner of a try-out as compared with the earlier stages of motor development. When first the gasoline motor was used hereabouts to propel the pleasure craft, the one decisive test of efficiency was its ability to successfully drive against the fast running current of the mighty Niagara River. Nowadays from 15 to 18 miles per hour is made against the same rapid current by some of Buffalo's fastest flyers. It is the brake test and actual performance now. Mechanical genius has triumphed and is still marching onward unconscious of past successes.

To the Buffalo Launch Club is given the first glory for disseminating the interest acquired by the vast army of local launch lovers. It has another distinction, that of being the first incorporated club devoted wholly to the launch sport. Following the parent organization have come two more clubs both of large and influential membership until now, Buffalo can proudly boast of nearly 250 boats propelled by the gasoline motor. The two new clubs are the Buffalo Motor Boat Club and the Frontier Launch Club, both of which were given birth in the season just passed.

At the Buffalo Gasolene Motor Co. and the Sterling Engine Co., hurry is the word -- in order to complete spring contracts. Night work has been the rule in both shops for some time past. Both concerns are turning out machines that will be installed in speed hulls now under construction for local enthusiasts and, it is said, the wonderful performance of Viper, Wizard and Flea, -- last year's champions, will be surpassed. A Wizard II is known to be on the way. The hull, which has arrived, was designed for a 28-mile gait but, when the Buffalo people are questioned about the engine, a painful hush ensues. Vice-Commodore A. H. Dohn is the purchaser. Besides this, a fast one of unknown speed is being built for Percival N. White, one of the younger set with admiration for speed. it is said the going must be 25 miles or better to beat her.

Also building at the Sterling shops are two 100-h.p. racers both for out-of-town delivery. A speed of 30 miles per hour is looked for. Another Sterling speeder is on the way for Harry Brundige, of the Buffalo Motor Boat Club.

(Transcribed from Boating, June 1906, p. 125. )

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