About Thomas D. Bowes
Thomas D. Bowes (1883-1965) graduated from Cornell University in 1905. In the same year, he founded the naval architecture firm of Thomas D. Bowes, M.E., Associates, Inc. The firm designed over eighty tugboats and several of Philadelphia’s fireboats. The firm also designed over 300 yachts, mostly “commuter” and “houseboat” yachts. Bowes designed the 23′ 9″ “A” class sloop for the Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia, of which he was a member. In addition to being a businessman, Bowes served on the advisory committee of the U.S. Council of National Defense and the Anti-Submarine Warfare Committee of the U.S. Naval Consulting Board during the first World War. During the Second World War, he designed minesweepers and submarine chasers for the U.S. Navy. Bowes also designed and patented the Bowes Drive, an electric device for the reduction of speed between engine and drive shaft in marine installations.
About the collection
This collection is scheduled to be arranged and described. Please stay tuned for updated collection information. This is a collection of plans and records of the naval architecture firm of Thomas D. Bowes, M.E., Associates, Inc. Materials include: rolled design plans, design #1-878 (1906-1964); and rolled design plans by job order, #9131-9504 (1944-1963). These include construction plans, deck plans, general arrangement plans, inboard and outboard profiles, lines and offsets, hold plans, rigging and sail plans, midship section plans, and other machinery, equipment, and structural plans. Vessel types include barges, cargo vessels, catboats, cruisers, ferries, fireboats, houseboats, runabouts, schooners, sloops, tankers, tugs, and yachts. Designs are by Bowes, Bowes and Mower, and Bowes and Watts. The collection also includes design plan files for designs #710 to 857 and some job order records. These files include drawings and machinery plans, specifications, correspondence, calculations, inspection reports, engine and generator tests, work orders, product catalogues, and press releases.
Business records of the firm include: correspondence, patents, and descriptions with plans and photos of the Bowes Drive; patents for other inventions by Bowes; correspondence related to patent applications and renewals; description and drawings of the “Magnetic 4,” a car designed by Bowes to run on a magnetic transmission; a brochure of tugs designed by Bowes and built by RTC Shipbuilding; 1961-1964 corporate records, including bylaws and board of trustees minutes; contracts and bids; publicity materials for vessels designed by Bowes, including tugs and fireboats; correspondence related to sales of fireboats to various port cities in the United States and abroad; legal agreements, correspondence, plans, and other records related to work done for Fiedler and Sellers on diesel engines (mid-1940s); reprints and extracts of articles on naval engineering and architecture; product catalogues; reports, including a 1960 Delaware River Basin study by the U.S. Army Engineers; photographs of vessels, including tugs, fireboats; and a photo album (disbound) with images of the construction of Arthur Hoyt Scott. Printed volumes in the collection include Machine Design (1903), Shipfitting Practice (1941), and Shipbuilding Shop Fabrication (1943). The collection also includes personal papers of Thomas D. Bowes, including a small amount of personal correspondence, photographs, a 1905 Cornell University yearbook, and Bowes’ will and related estate documents. Materials in the collection related to the Corinthian Yacht Club, 1951-1970, include minutes, treasurer’s reports, race committee reports, race results, memoranda, and correspondence, and photographs and negatives of launches and trials of sailing vessels.