The Molded Fiber Glass Boat Company (MFG)
Union City, Pennsylvania
History written by Jim Coffman
Molded Fiber Glass Corporation was founded by Robert S. Morrison in Ashtabula, Ohio in 1948. MFG's intentions were to mass-produce commercial products by using polyester resins and fiberglass reinforcements, (in short, FRP-Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics). In 1950, the MFG Sheet Co. was formed. Because of their success thus far, another division was warranted. In 1952, the MFG Tray Co. was started in Linesville, Pa. In 1953, they needed yet another division, due to acquiring the contract with Chevrolet Motor Company to produce the fiberglass body components for the Corvette. This division was MFG Body Co., formed in Ashtabula, Ohio.
In 1954, MFG felt it needed another product other than the Corvette. So to have another product line, one they felt would be very successful, they decided to produce boat hulls for another company. Did you ever wonder where the lapstrake hull design came from for MFG's boats?: Lyman Boat Co. MFG took a Lyman hull, tooled up, and produced a mold from it. They then took the finished hull and presented it to Lyman to show them what they could do for their boat, in fiberglass. Result of this business proposal, Lyman Boat Co. said...,No.
Now, the ironic part of history, MFG never wanted to produce boats. They only wanted to produce hulls for another company. As a matter of fact, Robert Morrison wasn't a boater, he didn't even have a true interest in boats. So after their pitfall with Lyman, and being tooled up to produce hulls, they had no choice. Finish what they started. So they produced their own deck, attached it to the hull copies, and formed Molded Fiber Glass Boat Co. in Union city, PA in 1955.
So now, MFG has their own line of boats, without ever having the intention. Now they needed to name the models they were producing. Best way to come up with names, and to keep in the spirit of their surroundings, look at the map. All of MFG's models were named after surrounding cities. MFG's boat production proved to be a great success.
In 1959, MFG Boat Co. decided to try producing two models completely out of fiberglass, the Edinboro, and the Oxford, another success. Come 1960, only one model still had a wood deck, the Celeron. The following years greeted MFG with continuing growth, the boating community anxiously awaited for the following years releases.
In 1965, for undetermined reasons, MFG Body Co. in Ashtabula bought Crestliner Boats. But MFG did not move Crestliner's operations to Union City. They left operations at Crestliner's current plants, as well as retaining the Crestliner name. Once in awhile, a Crestliner boat came through with MFG markings. Reason for this is unexplained as well, possibly a marketing test.
In 1968 MFG Boat Corporation began producing boats for Sears. These models were the Sears Gamefisher and later the Adventurer series boats. The Sears line was produced in Ashtabula, not Union City as one might think. According to one MFG contact, this continued into the very early 80's.
In 1972, MFG Corporation sold off Crestliner, and concentrated on production of their own models. 1977 brought a new line into their plants. MFG began production of fiberglass hoods and other components for Outboard Marine Corporation. This continued on into the 80's. As for the Boat Co. themselves, the 80's meant the end of MFG Boats.
It is in my opinion, researching the history of MFG Boat Co., information became very vague. Late summer of 2002, I had the opportunity to talk with Richard Morrison, the son of Robert Morrison, the founder. Our conversation was via telephone, whereas, I had to make an appointment to call him at his office. A huge percentage of the information contained above is the result of our conversation.
There are a couple of points I wanted to add to this page, but before I receive confirmation, I will keep them to myself. As receive any further information, I will update this page. If anybody has any valid documentation on the history and would like to share it, please feel free to contact me.
1955 Information Thanks to Lee Wangstead
1957 Brochure Thanks to Jim Whaley
1958 Brochure Thanks to Jim Maier
1958 Mercury Boathouse Bulletins
1958 MFG Cambridge Mercury Mark 58E test
1958 MFG Cambridge Mercury Mark 78E test
1958 MFG Suburban Mercury Mark 28test
1964 Brochure Pricelist thanks to Janet Lowry
1965 MFG Westfield Custom I/O MerCruiser 60 test
1967 Brochure Brochure thanks to Lee Wangstead
1969 Brochure Thanks to Kelly Wood
1969 MFG Challenger Mercury 110 and 75 test
1973 Brochure Thanks to Ted Sampanes