HISTORY OF CUTTER BOATS, INC.
By Dave "Fishguts" Hammett
Special thanks to researcher Evelyn Lasley, librarian at the Tell City-Perry County Public Library
Cutter Boats, Inc. of Tell City, Indiana was the Owens brother's short-lived foray into the rapidly growing late 1950's fiberglass sporting boat market. The Owens brothers (Charles, Norman, John and William) were involved in various business ventures, but were perhaps best known for the Owens Yacht Company, Inc. of Baltimore, MD where they manufactured wooden pleasure boats. When the Cutter line came into full production, however, they stopped making wooden boats under 20'.
The Cutter factory was built in 1956-57 on State Road 66 north of Tell City, Indiana. With much fanfare, a grand opening was held on May 25 and 26 in 1957 and 2,700 people attended the festivities. Bill Kennedy, chairman of the Tell City Chamber of Commerce, presented company president E. Richard Verrill at the opening ceremony.
Cutter Boats, Inc. was actually a subsidiary of the Tell City Fiberglass Division of Owens Yacht Co., Inc. which also manufactured fiberglass components such as cabin tops for wooden Owens boats at the Tell City plant. Gene Casey was the resident manager of this division and by 1958 had also become president of Cutter Boats, Inc., evidently replacing Verrill.
The new plant did so well that the original building was expanded in 1958 by an additional 14,000 square feet to 64,000 square feet. In 1959 and at near peak production, 15-20 boats were being manufactured per day and 176 people were employed. It was believed the plant had enough capacity to produce as many as 800 boats per month.
It appears that full capacity was never required. In April of 1960, after about 25 years in the business, the Owens brothers retired from boat building and sold Owens Yacht Co., Inc. (including Cutter Boats, Inc.) to the rapidly expanding sporting equipment company, Brunswick Corporation. This was the beginning of the end for Cutter boats.
Brunswick Corporation went on to acquire the Larson boat company in August of 1960 and soon thereafter closed the Tell City Cutter plant, moving the entire operation to Alliance, OH. This proved to be an unprofitable decision, so after just one year at the new location, Brunswick shut down the Alliance plant and discontinued the Cutter line.
In 1960 Kenneth Morrison was eastern division manager for Cutter Boats, Inc. (April 1960 Boat & Motor Dealer).
Various Cutter Emblems: