of the Owens Yacht Company
1930 - Annapolis - Baltimore - 1965
Sr., father of four sons and a daughter, built custom boats on Spa
Creek, in Eastport, Annapolis, Maryland, from 1925 to 1930. When
he died in 1933, his young teenagers were left with a small boat
building business and thus began their boat building careers. As
boat orders began to increase after 1936, three of the sons, Charles,
Jr., Norman and John B. decided to expand and purchased about eight
acres on the Baltimore waterfront where the constructed new plants.
It was at this site that they adopted the new auto industry production
control systems and applied them to boat building techniques.
first new 32-foot Owens cruiser model was put on display in 1937 New
York Boat Show. Their business grew rapidly in the early 1940s as
pleasure boats and boating was at its peak before World War II. All
three brothers were good sailors and spent their spare time racing
and winning! It was at this time that they introduced their first
40-foot sailboat, the Owens Cutter. In 1950 they sold the design rights
to Henry Hinckley in 1950 who went on to build the Cutter for the
next five years. During the War years, they converted the shop to
production boats and built many rescue boats and landing barges. And
when the Korean War erupted the brothers bid and won contracts to
build 75-foot minesweepers for the Navy.
continued to grow and sales were up considerably in 1958-59 when they
decided to hire Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency to further their
promotion and advertising. It was at this time that Cornelius Shields
of Shields & Company, a well-known sailor and stock broker suggested
they offer 20 percent of their company stock to the public. It opened
on the New York Stock Exchange in 1959 at $8 per share which quickly
oversold and the stock price rose to $12 per share. The Owens Company
was probably the only boat company to offer stock on the open market
at this time.
1957 the Owens Company discontinued manufacturing wooden boats of
less than 20 feet and began to convert to fiberglass hulls. During
this time their Baltimore facility could produce two 28-foot boats
per day which cost $8,500 to $12,000 or three 35-foot boats per week
with a price of $18,000 to $20,000 per boat. At this same time they
were also building their own engines, known as Flagship Marine Engines.
They were producing 500 Flagship engines per month for their complete
line of boats, 18-foot outboards to 35-foot cruisers and runabouts.
During its peak production years the Owens Company had 500 employees
at their Baltimore plant.
the 1960s the Owens brothers had retired and no longer took an active
part in the business. The Owens Company became a division of the Brunswick
Corporation which operated the business for ten years before selling
the boat building division to Test Concorde Inc. The division was
renamed Concorde Yacht Division - Brunswick Corp., but still retained
the Owens name for the boats. In the early 1970s the Concorde Yacht
Division ran into financial difficulties and liquidated the entire
production facility eliminating almost all historical material from
the original Owens Company. The sailboat cutter plans remain and are
located at the Mystic Seaport Museum, in Mystic, Connecticut.