Blanchard Boat Company photographs and other material, 1900-1963  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Blanchard Boat Company
Blanchard Boat Company photographs and other material
1900-1963 (inclusive)
2 boxes plus oversize materials, ( .6 linear feet)
Collection Number
Photographs of ships built by the Blanchard Boat Company in Seattle, including work boats, sailboats, rowboats and motor yachts, as well as boat plans, brochures and clippings
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Additional Reference Guides

A complete inventory of the photographs is available in the repository.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

This background of the Blanchard Boat Company was written by Stephen Wilen, co-author, with Norman C. Blanchard, of Knee-deep in shavings: Memories of early yachting and boatbuilding on the west coast:

In 1905, Norman J. (N.J.) Blanchard (1885-1954) teamed up with his friends, Dean and Lloyd Johnson, to open Johnson Bros. & Blanchard boatyard at the former oxbow of the Duwamish River, near what is now South Hidalgo Street. It was from this yard that the 100-foot motor yacht Helori was launched in 1911 for O.O. Denny. Designed by N.J.'s friend, L.E. (Ted) Geary, it was at that time the largest motor yacht built on the west coast. In 1915, after underbidding a job, the yard went broke and closed.

N.J. eventually went to work at the large Skinner & Eddy yard, and after saving enough money, he opened the N.J. Blanchard Boat Company on Lake Union, at the foot of Wallingford Avenue North. It was at that location that the 63-foot schooner Red Jacket, also designed by Geary, and still a popular feature at many classic yacht gatherings, was built.

Following a fire in 1922 that destroyed the Blanchard yard, N.J. rebuilt at 3201 Fairview Avenue East. It was at this location that many of the production sailboats, including Star Boats, Flatties (also known as Geary 18s), and the still-popular Junior and Senior Knockabouts were built, as well as numerous one-off designs. Production motor yachts built include the 36-foot standardized raised deck cruisers, several of which are still beautifully maintained, and custom yachts, such as the Geary-designed, 100-foot Malibu of 1926.

Following N.J.'s death in 1954, his son Norman C. Blanchard (b. 1911), who had worked alongside his father most of his life, succeeded as head of the yard. The shift in pleasure craft by this time, however, was toward fiberglass, and much of the work done at the yard in the 1960s was repair work. After over 60 years of operation, in 1969, Norm Blanchard sold the yard. The final tally totals almost 2,000 boats constructed, including sail and power, commercial and pleasure. That many of these boats are still in use by proud owners is testament to the excellent workmanship of the Blanchard Boat Company.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists largely of photographs of ships built by the Blanchard Boat Company in Seattle between 1900 and 1963. These include images of workboats, including progress photographs of a government contracted Navy picket boat; pleasure boats, including sailboats such as the Sir Tom, and motor yachts, such as the Helori; the Boeing hydroplane, the Pickle Fork; and interiors of various Blanchard boats. The photographs also include images of shipbuilding and repair, boat launches and ceremonies, the Blanchard shipyard and people associated with the Blanchard company. The collection also contains a number of boat plans, and brochures and clippings.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Blanchard Boat Company Photographs, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Photographs Return to Top

A complete inventory of the photographs is available in the repository.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 2
11 photographs
1 5
Blanchard Shipyard
16 photographs
Photographs of the shipyard include the image below, available in digital format by clicking on the icon:
circa 1924
circa 1912
1 6
Boat Launches and Ceremonies
18 photographs
Photographs of boat launches include the image below, available in digital format by clicking on the icon:
circa 1955
1 7
Boeing hydroplane and hydrodynamic tests
21 photographs
1 8
Shipbuilding--unnamed boats
12 photographs
circa 1937
1 9
Shipbuilding and repair--Pleasure craft--Sailboats--Named
54 photographs
circa 1955
circa 1950
1 10
Shipbuilding--Pleasure craft--Motor Yachts--Named
5 photographs
circa 1955
1 11
3 photographs
1 12
Work Boats--Government contracts--Numbered boats
34 photographs
1 13
Work boats--Government contracts--USS Highway and unnumbered boats
13 photographs
1 14
Work boats--Non-government contracted
6 photographs
1 15
Pleasure craft--Rowboats
1 photograph
1 16
Pleasure craft--Sailboats--Unnamed
31 photographs
1 17
Pleasure craft--Sailboats--A-P
48 photographs
1 18
Pleasure craft--Sailboats--Q-Z
40 photographs
3 color transparencies
The photographs of sailboats include the two images described below, available in digital format by clicking on the icon:
circa 1925
circa 1925
1921 June 21
1989.89.244:  The Winona
2 19
Pleasure craft--Motor Yachts--Unnamed
30 photographs
circa 1921
2 20
Pleasure craft--Motor Yachts--Named--50 feet and under
31 photographs
2 21
Pleasure craft--Motor Yachts--Named--over 50 feet
39 photographs
The photographs of motor yachts includes the image described below, available in digital format by clicking on the icon:
1989.89.321:  The Wanda
2 22
Pleasure craft--Motor Yachts--Named--Unknown length
29 photographs
circa 1952
circa 1955
2 23
Interiors--Unidentified engines
2 photographs
2 24
Interiors--Work boats--USS Highway
1 photograph
2 25
5 photographs
2 26
Interiors--Motor Yachts--A-H
50 photographs
2 27
Interiors--Motor Yachts--I-Z
23 photographs
2 28
Interiors--Motor Yachts--Unnamed
3 photographs
2 29
Stock prints--#1-270
21 photographs
2 30
Stock prints--#271-460
37 photographs
2 31
Yacht clubs
5 photographic postcards
2 32
Photos removed from album
20 photographs
2 33
Contact sheet

Boat plansReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 3
Boat plans
2 36
Blanchard Boat Co. 36' Standardized Cruiser
mapcase folder:oversize
VIII.b.12 1
Blanchard Senior Knockabout
3 items
VIII.b.12 1
Blanchard Junior Knockabout
3 items
1949, undated
VIII.b.12 1
Blanchard Runabout
2 items
VIII.b.12 1
Boat “Sunny”
VIII.b.12 1
24 foot sloop
VIII.b.12 1
22.5 foot keel sloop

EphemeraReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
Newspaper Clippings
1 4
Blanchard brochures
2 34
Boatyard brochure and card (successor firm to Blanchard Boat Co.) Moved from accession 1998.38.3
2 35
Deed to Blanchard Boat Co. Property

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Boat & ship companies--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Boat & ship industry--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Blanchard, Norman C.
  • Blanchard, Norman J.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)