Volume 46

Nature & Recreation I: Lyman Boats

The Pride of the Maumee River


  • LymanBoats
It was 20 years ago when I saw her “For Sale” in the small port of Rossford, Ohio. It was also about 20 years ago that I saw an historic location for the creation of the Lyman Boat Company in Sandusky. It was 10 years ago I met a gentleman, Tom, who created a “do-it-yourself ” Lyman Boat Company in Lexington, Ohio. All of this makes sense to me now, it did not then, but WOW—what a boat!! “She glides through the Lake Erie water like no other!” This is the usual comment made by boat experts of the Great Lakes!!!


The boat that is pictured is a 1953 Lyman Islander, 18’. It was purchased in the spring of 1953 from Gem Beach, used a few times on Lake Erie, and in the early summer of ‘53 it was taken by trailer up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where is has been in a boathouse, summer and winter, ever since. It is all original, and John Ferne still uses the original seat cushions, bimini top and side curtains, etc. It was one of 2,571 built by Lyman in the period from 1947 to 1960. In 1953, the year of its construction, it was one of 509 built that year. The hull number of his boat is A-2442.


The Lyman Brothers, Herman and Bernard, started the boat company in Cleveland, Ohio in 1875. The Lyman is a “clinker building style”, marketed similar to the Great Lakes builders, Chris Craft out of Detroit, Michigan. Sleek, modern wood lines, and attention to detail defines the brand. The “Islander” and the “Runabout” (between 17’ and 22’ in length) were the most popular. The “dual pane glazing” on most models made the boat-line unique. The building company moved to Sandusky, Ohio in the 1970’s. The Lyman boats were “rum-runners” during the prohibition era and were “minesweepers” during both World Wars. Fiberglass boats became popular in the 1970’s and by 1973, the mass production of the wooden Lyman ceased. The Lexington Lyman Boat Company (Tom and Doc Lyman) carries the torch today. Tom has displays in the Sandusky Maritime Museum, Thousand Lakes Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, New York, and the Great Lakes Historical Society’s Inland Museum in Vermillion, Ohio.


Tom Koroknay, of the Lexington Lyman Boat company is one of today’s leading authorities on the designing and creating of the boat.


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