Historic information from one who was there

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Mkb4550

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Historic information from one who was there
« on: February 02, 2009, 01:11:35 PM »
I started with Mark Twain in 1976 as a sales rep for United Marine Co. of Kansas City.
United Marine was part of Mark Twain Marine Ind. and in fact predated MTI.  Lee Seibert pres. and LLoyd Cooper vp.  These two were the original reps for Keikhafer Mercury outboards.  United Marine was a full line distributor for Mercury,  Lee was a national champion outboard racer.  He ran a molded plywood boat called Yellowjacket. During this time he noticed that the boats skidded through a turn.  This led to the development of the first lifting strake. He applied a piece of trim to the edge of the running surface to give the boat bite through the turn. This was only his  first  astounding influence on the marine industry.  A perfect Yellowjacket boat used to sit in the lobby of the plant in W. Frankfort.  That may be the boat I\'ve read about being a wood Mark Twain.   Seibert and Cooper were involved with several boat companies as owners or distributors among them Yellowjacket, Arkansas Traveler.  The original frp boats were produced with a male mold which was then shelacked, sanded and painted. This was slow and capital intensive. Owens Corning knew that they were on to something but they needed a more practical method of production.  They partnered with Seibert ,his investors, and Cook Paint and Varnish of K.C. to solve the problem.  A chemist at cooks named Kim Meinert developed the first \"reverse gelcoat mold\" and the fiberglass industry and  marine business as we know it were born.  A designer named Roy Rogers developed the V-Sonic hull design for Lee and Lloyd.  This incorporated lifting strakes on the hull and splash deflecting flares along the gunnel. Over the next 20 years Roy did most of the companys design work.  Roy was the most copied boat designer in history.
All this occured froom 1965 to 1967 with the first production run of reverse molded boats in history.  The molding process was never patented and the details on mold building, lay-up etc were made available to any one that had an idea.  The basic process has never changed and every fiberglass product is built from this idea.
  United Marine was the original distributer of Mercury outboards for a 6 state area and also marketed Mark Twain.  Seibert established production in New London then moved to West Frankfort.  He always kept the headquarters in K.C. and frequently drove the 300+ miles to the plant.  A lot of the information I have came directly from Lee or LLoyd.  I worked directly under their supervision and am extremely indebted to both of them for the things I learned.  When Bruinswick purchased Mercury from Keikhafer it signaled the end of United Marine.  I was lucky enough to be retained as a mfg. rep and continued working for these two founding fathers until they sold out to Louis Bracker (?) and Roland Mayot.  Roland ran the Co. and I stayed with them for another year but soon became disgusted with the changes being made to the product and moved on to another builder.  Roland moved to the K.C, area and continued the tradition of traveling from headquarters to the plant.  Eventually he left Mark Twain and started a new line called Mayacht in Riverside Mo.  Roy Rogers for many years owned Trisonic boats and continued to pioneer design work ie. tunnel hulls etc. for many years.  I was very lucky to become involved and have the opportunity to meet the very men who created such an incredible industry.  Every boater owes a word of thanks to men like Seibert, Cooper, Keikafer, Rogers and Meinert.  I\'ve got lots of stories, facts and information that I am williong to share.  Have a question?  Just ask and I\'ll try to provide an answer.

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lilsinker

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Historic information from one who was there
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2009, 12:46:24 PM »
That is a great story. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with our members. Any information that we get is a boon to the hobby (or lifestyle as some will attest).  8)
I said, GIVE ME THE ROPE!
Think you\'re \'Twain is fast?
Bring it ON!!

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1964mt

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Historic information from one who was there
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2009, 08:00:34 PM »
HI,
Thank you so much for the information, it is great to hear from you!
In case you haven\'t seen some of my posts (I apologize for monopolizing the forum with my ranting at times) but I am very interested in finding the origin of my 64 Mark Twain. It is not like any of the others I have seen, and it is not in the 64 MT catalog. The capacity plate says it was built in Hannibal, MO, and the areas for the max HP and weight are blank. All it has on it is the S/N. A board member, NOPJM, says in a history post that Lee bought the name Mark Twain from two men in Hannibal who were not successful in establishing a boat company. It seems logical that this is one of the boats they designed and built before Lee gained control and established production in New London, but I have been unable to confirm this.

I bought it from a rip off boat dealer in Grand Bend KS, Keep Em Afloat. I didn\'t really care that they misrepresented the boat, as soon as I saw it, I wanted it, and I only paid about $1,500.00 for it. I have traced the boat through KS registration records as far back as I could, and have spoken to the previous owners. Clyde Reece of Burdett KS bought it in about 1972 from Randy Stucky of Halstead KS. Clyde was very helpful and nice, and said the boat was in very nice condition until about the late 80\'s when he his a stump and took out reverse on the Merc 1100. Clyde said that the boat had always been serviced by Stucky Boat Shop in Hutchinson, KS. He put it in a barn and stored it until a couple months before I bought it in April 06. I was able to locate Randy Stucky in Halsted KS and he was also very nice and helpful. Randy said that he bought the boat off a used car dealers lot in Hutchinson KS in the 60\'s, but couldn\'t remember the exact year. He told me the dealership is no longer in business, and he has no further information. I did not make the connection of Randy\'s last name and the name of the boat shop until after I hung up, and I don\'t know if they are connected.

If any of this sounds remotely familiar please let me know, any information is appreciated. You can see the boat on this web site here;

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1442

And here;

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2048

My email is
john@bee-man.us and my tx is 630-202-6941  I would love to talk to you!

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1964mt

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Historic information from one who was there
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2009, 08:05:36 PM »
Oh, by the way, here is a Yellow Jacket