The legend of Chris-Craft began in 1884, when Christopher Columbus Smith began the Smith Boat House on the St Clair River in Algonac, Michigan, to manufacture small duck boats and power launches. Later, the company was extended to Chris Smith and Sons Boat Co. Many of his larger runabouts were used as taxis; transporting guests on the river front to resorts, or to various sightseeing attractions. In the twenty’s, mostly runabouts were produced, but with the introduction of his speed boats, Chris Smith’s fame took off.
Chris-Craft was the largest producer of mahogany boats in the country. In one year alone, one million feet of mahogany was delivered. Truck load after truck of Philippine Mahogany would arrive at the factory daily. No wood was ever wasted either. First, the lumber was air dried; then various hull parts were laid out using templates and patterns, were cut into plugs to be cemented into the counter sunk holes of the screws. All scraps were burned in the furnace for fuel.