From Classic Boat Library
Speed Queen boats were manufactured by the Marine Division of The Glastex Co. in Tinley Park, Illinois from 1953 to 1958. In 1958, Glastex expanded operations to include a location in Monmouth, IL. At the time, The Glastex Co. produced six boats per day and had 22 employees (Chicago Tribune, March 31, 1958). Boats were constructed by hand-laid fiberglass sheets in prepared molds and reinforced with aluminum stringers.
William J. Horvath, the owner of The Glastex Co. and designer of the Speed Queen line of fiberglass boats, sold the business to Felt Enterprises in 1961 who in turn changed the name to Sea Sprite in 1963 (Lee Wangstad. "Breath of Fresh Air." Boating World: June 2002). Beginning in 1968, Glastex produced Sea Star Boats.
From 1953 to 1956, only one 14' "Center Deck" model was offered. In 1957, a 14' "Walk-Thru" model was added. 1958 brought a 14' "Ski Queen" utility and two 16' models, a "Walk Thru" and "Ski Queen" utility. Finally in 1959, three 15' and two 18' Cruisette models were added, bringing to ten the total number of models produced. Little information has yet been uncovered for 1961, but apparently all new models were offered for 1961 and '62, all lacking the fiberglass center deck or molded-in seats of the seats of the earlier models.
In 1960, an 18' Speed Queen equipped with a Volvo I/O left Chicago's Michigan Ave. Bridge for a trip down the Mississippi River. Aboard were William Horvath (president), Charles Oehert (employee), and a Swedish engineer from Volvo to assess the motor's performance (April 1960 Boat & Motor Dealer).
The Milwaukee Sentinel - Jul 26, 1955 Dealer Ad
The Milwaukee Sentinel - Aug 28, 1958 Dealer Ad