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Boats Turning 100

September 7, 2021 in Uncategorized


Could the wooden boats of Muskoka ever last 100 years? At one time it was almost unthinkable, unimaginable that the wooden boats would get THAT old. While from the point of view of a teenager, it seems incredible, but for more and more aging boat owners, not so amazing anymore!

One hundred years ago, The Disappearing Propeller Boat Co. in Port Carling was pumping out boats. Most of the big names were also hard at work filling the need for water transportation.

The recent issue of The Device, the DOA members newsletter tells the story of Baisong, a 1920 Dispro that was owned by John and Happy Thomson for many years. She is one of the oldest boats in the Dispro Owners Association and has been preserved in very authentic and original form.  Tom Wood, current owner tells the story of hull number #2323.

The earliest Dispros were rather primitive creatures, despite the novel and effective use of the “device”. To start a Dis Pro, you had to manually rotate the massive flywheel. All would seem simple except that to gain access to the flywheel requires removing seating to gain access all the while hoping the boat will be pointing in the right direction since once the engine starts, there is no reverse or neutral.

One of the charms of the earliest Dis Pros is their simplicity and fully exposed workings. The dedicated Dis Pro owner will understand this and come prepared with the appropriate frame of mind and more importantly, the appropriate tools!

By Tim Du Vernet

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