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Company History

TROJAN    1949 - 1992



For those of us who love our sleek wooden boats, especially the original Trojan boats, 1949 was a year to remember. It was four years after the end of World War II, with U.S. manufacturers still converting to peace-time uses of construction materials no longer needed for the war effort - steel, aluminum, rubber, nylon, and newer products such as plastic and vinyl. Novelties of 1949 included inflatable plastic boats, and a surfboard coated with fiberglass.

That year two young men tired of their jobs at Norman Owens' Boat Company, and decided to leave to form their own company. Jim McQueen and Harper Hull traveled to Troy, New York, where they bought the Cottrell-Spoore Boatworks, a small builder of wooden racing boats and runabouts. McQueen and Hull renamed the company "The Trojan Boat Company" and moved operations to York, Pennsylvania. There they bought a dairy barn, converted it to factory use, and started to build boats in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country where they had access to the local Amish work force, hard working and skilled craftsmen. Not long afterward they moved their main factory to nearby Lancaster.

In 1950 the Korean War apparently slowed the start of the new company, while Jim McQueen left for the service. After 1953, when the war was over, business boomed for The Trojan Boat Company at its Lancaster factory, and within two years the young company was producing some twenty boats a week. In 1954 it introduced the famous Trojan Sea Breeze which before long generated 800 orders.

In the 1960's the 31-foot Sea Voyager came out; 10,000 of these wooden family cruisers were produced over the next decade. In 1966 Trojan acquired the Shepherd Boat Co., a Canadian builder of up to 50-foot wooden motor yachts.

By 1968 time Trojan facilities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Elkton, Maryland, and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, had made Trojan the second largest producer of inboard boat-builders in the world, building a complete line of wooden boats. The company was an early user of computers, and even had the capacity to contract payroll and data processing work for other business firms in the Lancaster area, using the new automatic tape punch equipment then becoming available for data processing. The early computers being developed in 1949 worked thousands of times faster than their predecessors. These new machines used vacuum tubes to replace the more cumbersome electro-mechanical wheels and levers of older models. The Trojan team was ahead of its competitors in using this new technology.

So Trojan at last ceased production of wooden boats and began production of fiberglass boats. Moving into fiberglass production, Larry Warner remembered the 32-foot boat as "Probably our best boat. I guess it was the boat that turned the company around.". A transition period began during which Jim McQueen and the old line Trojan managers were obliged to adjust to changes brought by the new management team from Whittaker, some of whom had no boat building experience.

The company survived the change and, operating as a Whittaker subsidiary, began to produce well-built fiberglass boats. John and Larry remember the most successful models as the 28, 30, 31, 32 and 36-foot boats. For twenty years from about 1972 to 1992 about 2,200 of the twin inboard 32-foot "sedans" were built. In 1981 Trojan introduced the International series of motor boats, one of several popular models.

The original Trojan Yacht Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania ended production in 1992. Miramar Marine, later known as Genmar, owner of Carver Boats, purchased the Trojan Boat brand name and assets. Genmar Holdings, Inc., the largest independent manufacturer of recreational powerboats in the world, located in Pulaski, Wisconsin, produces motor yachts with the Trojan name through its Carver Yachts subsidiary. Boatbuilding technology has changed, and the Trojan yacht of today is an entirely different vessel from the historic Trojan Sea Breeze of 1954 or the Sea Voyager of 1968.