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History of Chris Craft

Chris Craft imageChristopher Columbus Smith built his first boat in 1874, aged 13. It was a lake boat designed for duck hunting. He had a natural gift for working with wood. Chris with his brother Henry built more boats with great success. Word quickly spread that their boats were of exceptional quality and a legend was born. Today, Chris-Craft is one of the world’s most renowned and universally recognized names in boat building. Some dictionaries even list the word Chris-Craft as a synonym for pleasure boat.

As the Smith Brothers’ reputation spread, they developed an interest in racing boats. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Chris Smith started building speed boats and experimented with a variety of hull and gasoline engine combinations. A quest for speed resulted in highly innovative hull designs with elegant, sleek lines that unzipped the water with unprecedented velocity. While Chris Smith’s early boats were a triumph of function over form, the comfort and style they exuded made them hugely desirable as well as widely respected. The beliefs that defined Chris-Craft in the 19th Century live on today and are exemplified in every boat that leaves our factory.

The first Chris-Craft to receive acclaim was the Dart, which in its first competition totally eclipsed vessels built by the established manufacturers. Chris Smith’s approach to boat building challenged many conventions and achieved considerable success as a result.

1n 1922, Chris Smith’s two sons joined the Company. By this time their father had perfected many of the innovations which had made his earlier boats so successful. The Company flourished. The reputation of Chris-Craft spread beyond America, becoming an internationally recognized symbol of performance and pleasure.

Chris-Craft is probably the only recreational boat manufacturer to have had its products tested under fire. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Chris-Craft landing craft were the first vessels to bring allied troops ashore on the Normandy beachhead.

After World War II, Chris-Craft reached a new zenith, creating an extensive range of boats for just about every type of recreational pursuit on water.

Between 1922 and 1972, more than 100,000 Chris-Crafts were bought by customers not just in America, but also in Great Britain, Italy, France and in other world markets where the boat-builder’s art is revered.

Throughout the Company’s existence, we have blended traditional craftsmanship with innovation. The advent of fiberglass enabled us to achieve new standards in deep-V hull design and manufacture. Though we no longer build boats with wooden hulls, wood is still a significant feature in every boat that leaves our yard today.

Judge today’s Chris-Crafts by the extent to which they embody the original quality defined by Chris Smith but also by the huge number of Chris-Crafts still afloat.

As you write the next chapter of our history, we look forward to providing you with boats that exceed all expectations. We hope that the pleasure you get out of them will help you appreciate why Chris-Craft more than any other U.S. boat company has put the American family afloat.

The rediscovery of chicle by the American inventor Thomas Adams in the 1860s laid the foundation for modern chewing gum. The Wrigley Company was a prominent user of chicle until the 1960s, when it was replaced by a less expensive material that made chewing gum cheaper to manufacture. There are only a few companies today that still make chewing gum from natural chicle and other natural gums. Today, most chewing gums are derived from man-made materials that provide highly consistent chewing quality. But, the chicle legacy remains; “chicle” continues to be the common word for chewing gum in Spanish. And, of course Chiclets gum, which is named after chicle.

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