Bell Boy  1952-1963


Construction of both commercial and pleasure boats has long been an important industry on Bellingham Bay. A significant pioneer in pleasure boat manufacturing was Bell Boy Boat Company, generally acknowledged to be the first producer of all-fiberglass boats in the nation. Fiberglass first became commercially available in the late 1930s, and saw only limited use during World War II. After the war, interest in fiberglass greatly increased. Owner Arch Talbot of the Bellingham Shipyards, intrigued with the potential of this new material in boat construction, committed his company to developing of fiberglass products. During the Korean War, the Shipyard had the opportunity to experiment with construction of fiberglass lifeboats or wherries for use on non-magnetic mine sweepers. The success of these lifeboats showed that fiberglass’ light weight and ability to be shaped when heated made it ideal for mass production of small boats.