Wednesday, June 11, 2014

All Aboard the Dippy!

The skiff on the cover of  The Summer Before the Storm is a Disappearing Propeller Boat, also known as a Dispro, or more affectionately, “Dippy”. It’s basically a motorized rowboat with a cleverly designed propeller that works in very shallow water. If the protective skeg hits an obstruction, like a log or a sandbar, the prop automatically retracts into the housing – handy when you want to beach the boat for a picnic or a swim.

18 men in a Dippy
The Dippy was the brainchild of Wm. J. Johnson, a boat builder in Port Carling, Muskoka, in 1914. These sturdy wooden boats were roomy, as you can see in the ad above, apparently unsinkable, so easy to use that a child could drive one, and relatively inexpensive, starting at $300. By the early 1920s, the Disappearing Propeller Boat Company was the largest manufacturer of motorboats in Canada.

People still putt-putt around the lakes in these lovely vintage craft - at about 6 to 9.5 mph – as you can see in this video. Of course some of my characters own Dippies.

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