Five torpedo chasers, built for the government by the De Foe Boat & Motor Co., of Bay City, were on cars and ready for shipment to "somewhere" on the Atlantic coast this morning. These craft represented $60,000 in cold cash.
Although the company received the contract from the navy department last October, it was not generally known that the plant was engaged in government work. This was kept quiet even in the city having no knowledge of this fact. The company went into competition with several other boat building concerns without any trouble. Under existing war conditions, however, it was not considered wise to make any announcement of the completion. The construction of the torpedo chasers is a remarkable achievement, especially considering the short time to construct the vessels. The torpedo chasers are constructed of the best material of the very best quality, in fact, only the very best can be used. The frames are of full-length white oak, with four feet between stakes, as spiles being planked with Port Orford cedar, brought here from Oregon. The outer skin of the motor torpedo chasers is Philippine mahogany. All the departments taking the true navy blue. This is durable from the standpoint of material utility. All the fastenings are copper riveted. The castings are solid bronze of special government composition. The bow stem is lead in brass. The De Foe Boat & Motor Co. has spared neither pains nor expense in constructing the craft and making them perfect in all details, with the purpose of rigidity and durability. The craft are equipped with the Wilson gasoline engines, built by the Wilson Engine Co., of Cleveland, Ohio, with 85 horse power. The engines are of the heavy duty type and weigh in the neighborhood of three tons each. While the weight is excessive, the government prefers the boats also for foreign purposes when exigencies might arise. They are constructed to stand any kind of hard use, and almost any kind of weather.
The design of craft is wanted at practice stations where torpedoes and torpedo proving grounds are of great utility. Also for the defense of our seas and naval training stations. A similar contract was secured at the same time by the Herreshoff Co., of Newport, R. I.
The loading of the craft on cars in front of the De Foe Boat & Motor Co. yesterday afternoon attracted considerable attention; each of the craft weighing an entire flat on account of its regular size.