The Golden Century: Classic Motor Yachts, 1830-1930

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9780393049497: The Golden Century: Classic Motor Yachts, 1830-1930

The recreational vessels of the rich and famous during the age of the classic motor yacht.

The history of sailing yachts has been recounted often, but these magnificent motor yachts, although far more popular in their time, have been largely neglected. They were the playthings of the very rich, men who competed with one another to have the fastest, longest, and most up-to-date motor yacht. Many of these vessels rivaled great mansions in both the luxury and the quality of their workmanship. And they cost fortunes to build and maintain.

This book is a loving look at some of the most beautiful motor yachts in the world, beginning in 1830 when the first private steam vessel was commissioned in England, the 120-foot Menai. It would be followed by more lavish private boats, some powered by gas, others by diesel. As one can see from the beautiful photographs in this book, all were elegant. Ross MacTaggart documents here a world that has largely vanished, a world where small fortunes were spent tastefully. 220 duotone photographs

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For a brief moment in history, the world witnessed an outpouring of extraordinary creations: grand steam and motor yachts rivaling (and often surpassing) great mansions in both the luxury and the quality of their workmanship. They were graced with unimaginably lavish interiors, and required fortunes to build and maintain. Often with dramatic clipper bows, sweeping counter sterns, raked masts, and imposing funnels, they were radically different from their modern counterparts.

Steam and motor yachts were commissioned for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, they were playthings of the very rich, millionaires who competed with one another to have the fastest, longest, and most up-to-date vessel. Other millionaires used their yachts to explore a world much more mysterious and unknown than is imaginable today. And some yachts were used as private commuters—the Lear jets of their day—while people of "moderate" means owned smaller vessels, although these yachts were still quite luxurious. The history of sailing yachts has been recounted often, but steam and motor yachts, although far more popular in their day, have been largely neglected. This book is a loving look at these creations, beginning in 1830, when the first private steam yacht was commissioned. This historic occasion marked the first time that a person, not the wind, controlled a water-borne schedule. Steam yachts gained enormous popularity beginning in the 1880s, an era that witnessed financier Jay Gould's dashing Atalanta, Sir Thomas Lipton's famed Erin, and the remarkable Lysistrata, owned by the notorious James Gordon Bennett and liberally decorated with—of all things—owls. Over 260 stunning black-and-white images, most never previously published, reveal these yachts in all their palatial splendor. Here Ross MacTaggart recreates this remarkable era, the men and women who commissioned these grand vessels, and the designers and builders who created them.

About the Author:

Ross MacTaggart is a writer, researcher, architectural designer, and urban observer. He lives in Strong City, Kansas.

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