E. W. Whites and original fiberglass....

The Canoe Kid

LOVES Wooden Canoes
When did E.M. White start selling canoes covered in fiberglass rather than canvas? And was this on all their canoes, or just on certain models - like bottom Guides or something like that?

I've come across a 20' Guide model that the owner says is from the 1920s and was delivered with fiberglass rather than canvas. This sounds too early to me, but I don't know that much.

Thanks, guys.

Good paddling.

The Canoe Kid

Fiberglass was not commercially produced until 1936 -- see Wikipedia entry on fiberglass. There are different claims as to who build the first fiberglass boat, but it seems that none were built before the 1940's, and commercial production of any kind of fiberglass boat didn't happen until the 1950's. So if the canoe in question is from the 1920's, it was not originally covered with fiberglass. If it was originally covered with fiberglass (I don't know the history of E. M. White canoes and therefore don't know if they ever covered canoes with fiberglass), the boat is not from the 1920's.
The Original White company as owned by E. M. White never did any fiberglassing. The company was sold to Bob King in 1946 and around 1948 King was experimanting with putting fiberglass on the hulls. Throughout the 50's the glassing became more popular and the company was sold again and by the early60's they were producing only all fiberglass canoes.

A sad story that deserves a rewrite!
1946 Winner Manufacturing Company of Trenton, NJ started making all RFP (reinforced fiber plastic) boats as a production item. They had them displayed at the NY Boat Show in January 1947. Wizard Boats of California started making them in 1948 or so. Both are considered pioneers of the RFP boating industry. Ray Greene in Toledo, OH probably made the first RFP boat - a sailboat.

Winner did not use glass fibers originally. They used jute or sisal fibers. So, you can not consider their earliest boats as being fiberglass. This was common in the pioneering days of RFP boats.

No one was making "fiberglass" watercraft in the 1920s.

Read the book "Tail Fins & Two Tones" by Peter Hunn and Daniel Spurr's book "Heart of Glass" to learn more about fiberglass boating history.

According to Spurr's book, ethylcellulose lacquer resin was used by Crosley Marine in Coral Gables, FL in 1936.

Polyester resins replaced the first type during and after WW II. It was patented in 1936 by Carlton Ellis. Looks like 1942 was the first use of it - in Germany to reinforce aircraft wings!

Interesting note - Western Plastics which became Chemold of Glendale, CA used palm fronds which were made into fibers as their reinforcement in several boats!