Michigan will always be known as the automobile capital of the world, but the Great Lakes State boasts a similarly rich heritage in the development of boat building in America.
In Making Waves, author Scott M. Peters explores this intriguing story of people, processes, and products—of an industry that evolved in Michigan but would change boating across the world. Peters is curator of collections at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing and a lifelong Great Lakes boater. A frequent contributor to Michigan History Magazine, he has been collecting information on the state’s boat-building industry for the past 25 years.
“Complete with photographs, maps, and appendices,” Ross Coen of Michigan Historical Review writes, “that provide statistical information on production, employment, and geographic distribution of boat-builders. Making Waves should have a place in every ship's library.”
By the late 19th century, Michigan emerged as the industry’s hub, drawing together the most talented designers, builders, and engine makers to produce some of the fastest and most innovative boats ever created. Within decades, gifted Michigan entrepreneurs such as Christopher Columbus Smith, John L. Hacker, and Gar Wood had established some of the nation’s top boat brands and brought the prospect of boat ownership within reach for American consumers from all ranges of income. More than just revolutionizing recreational boating, Michigan boat builders also left their mark on history—from developing the speedy runabouts favored by illicit rum-runners during the Prohibition era, to creating the landing craft that carried Allied forces to shores in Europe and the Pacific in WWII.
U. Michigan Press // Hardcover $70.00 // Paperback $29.95