Steam Launch CAPTAIN BELL

HISTORY

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The boat was built as a steamer by Eugene, Oregon pharmacist John Tiffany in 1962. She was designed by famed Naval Architect David Beach and featured in Sports Afield Magazine's 1962 Boatbuilding Annual. Tiffany built the hull to Beach's specifications, had an ASME code boiler manufactured by King Brothers in Portland, and purchased a 10 HP V-Compound engine from the Semple Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Hull Frame The boat began life as the FERN and first saw water on Fern Ridge Reservoir, west of Eugene. During the time the Tiffany's owned and operated her however, FERN spent much of her time at Tiernan on the Siuslaw River near the coastal town of Florence, Oregon.
In a questionaire filled out 12 years after she was built (presumably for Dick Mitchell's book), Tiffany commented, "The hull is certainly not the traditional steamer hull, but it does slip through the water relatively Hull easily. It's broad beam gives excellent stability, which makes it a fine family boat. Its roominess is much appreciated when children and grandchildren are aboard."
At this time (1975), with the passing of his first wife and his subsequent remarriage, Tiffany's notes also reflect the first name change...the boat had become the POLLY.  

Ed Todd At about that same time, POLLY was purchased by Ed & Jeanne Todd of South Colby, Washington. Ed is a long-time steam enthusiast (complete with 12-guage steam train circling their property) and made many of the refinements that the boat carries to this day.

In 1987, health issues brought Ed to the decision to sell. Mom and Dad had already decided to get into steaming. Mom bought Dad a "White" automobile steam engine and he was thinking of building a boat to go with it. But he realized it would take quite a bit of time to build a boat and so he began looking for one to purchase. At a steam meet in 1987, Lloyd and Dave saw POLLY with a "For Sale" sign. Ironically, Lillian missed that meet because she was in England at Lake Windermere at the time...doing a little steamboat research on her own! Anyway, when she got home two weeks later, she was a little surprised to learn that she was co-owner of a steamboat!
The boat served an immediate need...that is, to get "steaming" right away. Lloyd made a few cosmetic changes...the sign board atop the canopy carrying her new name among the most noticeable. He also added a fuel pump to assist the gravity feed fuel system. A whistle pull from a ship gave the steam whistle a little more "realism".
Since that time, she has been at home on beautiful Nehalem Bay, a favorite of local residents who have made the steamer a part their community. She has also been a regular at steam meets...trailering to California for the B&W Meet one year...and to the Northwest Steam Society's annual meet wherever it has been held...from just down the street in Wheeler to Victoria and Nanaimo in British Columbia and dozens of points between. Look for the CAPTAIN BELL at the meet in Blaine, Washington in August, 2014.  

 

 

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