A Short History of Lyman Boats

Lyman Boats have a long and rich history. Founded by Bernard and Herman Lyman in 1875 as The Lyman Brothers Boat Builders of Cleveland, Ohio, the company quickly became well known for building high quality "Clinker Built" skiffs. Early production centered around small sailing and rowing skiffs. By the early 20th Century the company, known by then as The Lyman Boat Works, was building custom sail and power boats in all sizes.

World War I forced the company to be moved off the waterfront in 1916 and away from the water, the Lyman's reverted to building small skiffs. The idea was to promote a quality craft that was affordable to more than just the wealthy.

During the Second World War, Lyman focused its resources on wartime production. The Boat Works produced several different military craft including pontoons to be used to support floating bridges. Following WWII from 1952 to the early 1960s were the most prosperous for the Lyman Boat Works. However, as other materials became popular, the market for wooden boats evaporated. By mid 1973 the production line fell silent. There were several attempts and owners trying to revive the company but after more than 60,000 boats and nearly 100 years, new Lyman Boats were no longer available.

The Lyman Boat Owners Association

As a testament to the great design, quality materials, and expert craftsmanship, a large number of Lyman's are still in use today. As a testament to the great design, quality materials, and expert craftsmanship, a large number of Lyman's are still in use today.

Helping keep the passion surrounding these "clinker-built" at a high level is the Lyman Boat Owners Association. Founded by Fred Jackson in upstate New York was the original organization, the Lyman Owners Group. The group was short-lived and fell dormant. In the early 1980s Dale Hooper brought the organization back to prominence as the Lyman Boat Owners Association based in Northern Ohio.

Today the LBOA is a nationwide group with over 550 members. The organization is 501c3 classified and dedicated to the preservation of Lyman boats and the history behind them. It promotes and stages over 12 events during the boating season and sponsors "Best Lyman" awards at shows across the country. Most events are fun filled family affairs with activities for all ages. The highlights of the season are the All Wooden Boat Festival and the Annual Regatta featuring a reunion of former Lyman employees and their families. The association publishes "The Clinker", a quarterly magazine full of event updates, restoration stories and tips, historical information, archives, and classified advertisements. The group also produces an all Lyman calendar featuring a different boat each month and maintains a full featured website. The website has up to date information about organization events, historical information, classified ads, and an active discussion forum. The association is run by a group six officers and directed by a board of trustees which are elected at a winter season annual meeting. For more information contact the Lyman Boat Owners Association via the internet at www.lboa.net, by phone at (440) 954-4005, or by mail at 3511 Center Rd. Brunswick, OH 44212.