Smith Craft (Arizona)
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Smith Craft Boats
Seth Smith Boat Works, Inc.
2101 E. Washington St.
According to his obituary, Ernest Seth Smith (Ernie) along with his brother Donald worked for their father, Seth Smith who founded Seth Smith Boat Works (Nov. 10, 2004, Arizona Republic). Seth Smith had a welding business in Mesa, Arizona when he built his first boat in 1921. This was a 20' galvanized steel inboard powered by an engine from a Ford Model T. He learned his trade in New Mexico from his father, a blacksmith, then served in WWI. After the war, Smith moved to Mesa, Arizona. In 1927, he built his first aluminum boat. The year after, he became an Evinrude outboard motor dealer. In 1935 Smith moved to Phoenix. He focused his business on boat-building shortly after World War II and his sons joined the business.
Dabbling in boat racing, he built and raced "Miss Arizona No. 1" and "Miss Arizona No. 2" in hydroplane events to some success, ending his racing career in 1941. Besides production models, he built a succession of personal family boats, "Dream Boat No. 1" and "Dream Boat No. 2".
His 16' aluminum boats were popular and he even built two 18' models for filming Ten Who Dared, a Disney production of the 1869 Powell expedition down the Colorado River (see 1958 article below). Even before Disney, his outboard boats had a record of performance running the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
There was also an unrelated Smith Craft Boats of Geneva, Alabama which built wood boats in the 1950's.