The photo above on the left is an original 1940 photograph of the Pied Piper that has been digitally scanned. The original print photograph was mailed to the current owner of the Pied Piper by the Matthews Boat Owners' Association (MBOA). The MBOA moved quickly and smartly and was privileged to receive hundreds of boxes and tens of thousands of documents from the Matthews Boat Company that were saved after a fire in the old Matthews plant in Port Clinton, Ohio, just a few years ago. Most documents were saved, tho a few were lost. The records for the Pied Piper were among the records that were saved, including letters between The Matthews Company and the first owner (a boat broker) describing the Pied Piper as "the show boat" for the in-the-water 1940 January New York boat show. The Pied Piper's owner has copies of all of those original records, although the originals remain appropriately with MBOA.
The photo on the left was used on the cover of the Matthews 1940 sales brochure. The photo also appeared in a number of magazines at the time advertising the January, 1940, New York Boat Show. The Pied Piper's owner has a number of those original January 1940 magazines, an original copy of the Matthews 1940 sales brochure, and an original copy of that 1940 photograph.
The photo on the right was taken by Jim Paynton, with Margie Paynton at the helm of their boat (Maranee, 1940 Chris-Craft) in August, 2011, while we were cruising in the San Juan Islands in the State of Washington, USA. Not surprisingly, we (mostly the two of them) staged the 2011 photo so the angle would closely approximate that of the 1940 photo. Jim and Margie hit it spot on!
With few evident changes, the Pied Piper remains original in line and character. The Pied Piper continues to cruise as comfortably and as stylishly today as she did when she was first a brand new boat in 1940. May it always be so.
Early History of the Pied Piper
The Pied Piper is a 1940-model "38" Matthews Standard Sedan, hull number 04026, with an LOA (length-overall) of 40 feet not including the swimplatform and dinghy or bow roller and anchor. This vessel was constructed in late 1939 in Port Clinton, Ohio, by the Matthews Boat Company. Before the boat was yet completed, it was sold by Matthews to The Gregory Boat Company, a boat dealer in Michigan, as "the show boat" and was used in the New York on-the-water boatshow early in 1940.
1940 was the first year this model was introduced and sold. The "38" Standard Sedan model was the "Golden Anniversary" model, celebrating 50 years of Matthews' boatbuilding from 1890 through 1940. A picture of the Pied Piper graces the Matthews’ company brochure that celebrates that 50th anniversary. The current owner of the Pied Piper has obtained and safely stores that original 1940 photograph (above) of this very boat.
Unique construction features of this boat include the largest saloon with the most headroom of any boat of this length to date of construction, dual over-sized hogback stringers (two on each side of the boat) run almost the full length of the boat, and chromed stainless steel roof supports double as rain gutters. The main saloon enjoys a 360-degree view with 10 out of 14 windows sliding down into the wall or opening outward to provide comfort and breeze during warm-weather cruising.
Significant additions to the boat over the years include a 7.0 KW Westerbeke generator, (2) 30-amp shore power adapters, a Statpower 40-amp 3-bank battery charger, one 50-amp alternator on each engine, a low-amperage 110/12v refrigerator and a separate low-amperage 110/12v freezer, propane stovetop, 110v standard/convection oven, pressurized water in the galley and head sinks, holding tank and macerator for the toilet system, baseboard heat, VHF marine radio, digital depthsounder, GPS/chart plotter, brass spotlight, loudhailer, carpet, digital tape/AM/FM/CD sound system, radar, solid-fuel fireplace in the main saloon, a brass ship’s clock, and an internet/wifi system.
The original boat had no 110v or 12v electrical power, no alternators, no shore power, and no separate generator to provide 110v or battery charging capability. The boat did have one old style "generator" on each engine to supply and charge the 6-volt electrical system that ran the engines and supplied electricity for lighting and the HF marine radio onboard the boat that used copper plating on the keel as the antenna. The vessel had an icebox, an alcohol stovetop, a manual pump faucet for each sink, a toilet that flushed directly overboard, a scanning depthsounder, and a McMurray (Seattle-built) anchor windlass .. but no heat, no hot water, no radar, since none of those systems were available for small personal cruising boats. Considering the technology available at the time and the cost, Matthews-built boats were very well-equipped and were extremely popular.
The original name of this vessel was Pied Piper. She has retained that name throughout her history. The original engines are still in the boat too and run perfectly – twin 1939 Chrysler Royal flathead straight-8 gasoline engines. The engines are keel-cooled so no saltwater enters the engines or the engine cooling system.
This vessel was built with and retains the original oak keel, doubled oak frames, mahogany carvel planking, two fir hogback stringers on each side, double-planked transom of Philippine mahogany, cabin of Philippine mahogany, bulkheads and roof of Philippine mahogany or white pine, and canvassed roof and decks. This vessel has been maintained in excellent condition and remains basically unchanged since new, but for the amenities described above.
Popular music artists of the early 1940s included Glenn Miller, The Ink Spots, Artie Shaw, The Andrews Sisters, The Mills Brothers, Frankie Laine, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington. Hit movies of the early 1940's included "The Philadelphia Story" with Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, "Casablanca" with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, "My Little Chickadee" with W.C. Fields and Mae West, "Road to Singapore" with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, "The Westerner" with Walter Brennan and Gary Cooper, "Rebecca" with Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, "The Great Dictator" with Charlie Chaplin. In 1940, the United States of America was slowly but surely recovering from the Great Depression and "cadillac" boats like this Matthews were the talk of the dock.
Some interesting, educational, and fun links:
Classic Yacht Association, an international organization dedicated to restoration, preservation, maintenace, and promotion of fine, old, power-driven, cruising style, pleasure craft.
Classic Yacht Club of America, with boats located mostly around the Chesapeake Bay area in the USA, CYCA was organized for the purpose of promoting ownership, preservation, restoration and knowledge of classic wood pleasure vessels.
The Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle, WA, celebrating our rich, vital, and varied small craft heritage by preserving and sharing both the artifacts and the time-tested maritime skills of sailing, paddling, boatbuilding, and boat maintenance.
Maranee, a 1940 42-foot Chris-Craft built in Algonac, Michigan, just north of Lake Erie, and moored at the Port Clinton Yacht Club in Ohio on the south shore of Lake Erie during the same years that Pied Piper was moored there in the early lives of these two boats. It is likely that the owners of both boats knew one another back then and it is probable that the two boats cruised side by side. Many decades later (and many owners later) both boats moored (coincidentally?) within a few feet of each other at Stimson Marina in Seattle, WA, and their current owners are the best of friends and often cruise these two boats side by side. The current owners of both boats believe these two grand, old boats were and are still the best of friends, finally back together again, and that they spend their free time (without their pesky owners aboard) telling tales and sharing the stories of their lives with each other (and maybe chasing a tug or two in the wee hours of the night!).
Empress, proudly owned by Randy Rice, a 1953 41-foot Matthews moored in Seattle, WA.