Scientific American $3.00 Scow

By Larry Henry - Scottsburg, Indiana - USA

I found the plans for the 'Scientific American Supplement (1876) "$3.00 at Craig O'Donnel's Cheap Pages. See also here and continued here.

I made a "quick-n-dirty" model. Here are some pictures...scale 1" = 1'. The scow would be 10' X 3' X 12" draft.

I enjoyed this poem:

I would really like to build one but as I am a rented "condo" dweller, "She who must be appeased" has to become "She who must be convinced..." (Smiling). I have been researching online and am amazed at how many cultures all over the world have utilized the "scow" hullshape.

Here in the USA, in the 19th and early 20th century's scow schooners were used in the Great Lakes, Galveston Bay, and San Francisco Bay & Sacramento River Delta. On the east coast, Carolinas and Florida behind the barrier islands they used the "Sharpie" which had a flat bottom but pointy bows.

Galveston Bay Scow
New Zealand Scow
Carolina Sharpie Schooner

I read that the New Zealand Scow was 1st built by families of boat builders that built the Great Lakes "Stonehooker" scows, used to transport of stone for building on Lake Ontario. The New Zealand Scow had flared bows but flat bottoms. The Stonehookers were like the San Francisco Bay Scows with flat bows like the "San Francisco Pelican" of today.

The Dutch in their Zuider Zee used flat bottomed boats with Lee Boards.

Smaller boats with flat transoms and bows and bottoms but lengthy 16 - 20 feet were used on the rivers in Europe, and for drifter fishing on the rivers of the Ozarks...the Ozark River Johnboat.

Drawings of Ozark Johnboat

Here is a the THE OZARK JOHNBOAT webpage that relates to the above drawing.

Drifting down a lazy river...
Louisiana Bateau
Harlan & Anna Hubbard's Shantyboat and punt river-row boat on the Ohio River Late 1940s (Those days are gone)
Sampan from Eurasia...
Punt on the Kentucky River in Appalachia...
(Foreground) Loire River (France) Sailing Punt
England - River Severn Punt
Marsh boat from Scandinavia....

Form follows function... all over the World. Amazing..

It totally fascinated me how the same hull-type shows up all over the world... I personally want to build one of these..

Here is the drawing again and here is a picture of one (below). Click here for the build page.

Here is a link to a *.pdf article about the johnboats:

(History, form & function)



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