Correspondence, contracts, ship plan drawings, manuals, photographs, brochures, and other files pertaining to the construction, repair, and marketing of vessels, both military and civilian.
Barbour Boat Works Inc. was founded by Herbert William Barbour in 1932 on the Trent River at New Bern, North Carolina. The company initially specialized in wooden vessels. It remained a small company until the coming of World War II. At this time the company began receiving U.S. Navy contracts for ship construction. They began expanding their facilities and soon had a payroll of over 1200 people. Ships built included salvage ships (among the largest wooden ships built for wartime use), net tenders and mine sweepers. In the coming years, more vessel contracts were obtained from the Navy, Army and Coast Guard. These included a number of 56' troop transport vessels for the Vietnam War effort (five of which were fitted with helicopter landing pads, making them the smallest carriers in the U.S.), a prototype steel fire boat and steel tug boats.
Following the war, the company began construction of both private and commercial vessels. The private vessels included rowboats, racing class sailboats, normal duty sailboats, outboard runabouts and utilities, inboard cruisers and a few larger coastal cruisers. The bulk of the private vessel construction consisted of 14' utilities and 19' and 21' cruisers in both outboard and inboard configuration. These types sold on a worldwide scale. Commercial vessels included trawlers, ferries, tankers, fishing vessels, barges and tugs.
A 155-foot seagoing tanker, delivered in April, 1972, was produced by the company for a major oil company. At the time, this was the largest ship to be built in North Carolina since World War II. The company also produced a number of custom, innovative vessels including Porpoise II (built for the Marineland Studios in Florida, it featured tanks of circulating sea water allowing transport of sea animal specimens) scallop trawlers, a Navy submersible, demountable submarine tender and a modified hull for the Navy's failed Osprey project.
During the company's long history, a number of subsidiaries were formed by the company. One of these, formed in 1955, was Reggie's Outboard Service. This subsidiary featured a complete stock of boats, motors and sporting goods, as well as a complete shop for servicing outboard motors. Also, in 1957, a complete Diesel Parts Supply division was added. The same year, the shipyard made the transition to steel construction, its first steel vessels consisting of three ferries for the state of North Carolina's eastern ferry system. The company also eventually expanded its services to accommodate repairs and conversions of vessels for both U.S. government agencies and private business. In 1945 a propeller reconditioning shop was installed at the plant, and in 1970, a complete machine shop was relocated there. The company closed in the mid-1990s.
The material includes correspondence, contracts, ship plan drawings, manuals, photographs, brochures, and other files pertaining to the construction, repair, and marketing of military and civilian vessels. The bulk of the correspondence is between the company, dealers and individuals regarding various vessels. Some topics of discussion include boat orders, pricing, modifications, performance evaluations, lumber shortages and shipping methods. Administrative materials include employee records, order books, secretarial notebooks written in shorthand, insurance and pensions files, payroll records, tax information files, shipping and freight cost information, dealer lists by state and boat show information. There are also magazine advertisements, various trade magazines and newspaper articles written on the company and its products. Also included are a number of technical manuals (some related to the U.S. Department of Defense), microfilm, punch cards and backup tapes.
Gift of Paul Fontenoy
Gift of Reggie Rivenbark
Gift of Bill Rivenbark
Gift of Frances D. Hayden
Gift of Darlene Perry
Preliminary inventories by Russ Green, Jeff DiPrizito, Kevin Nichols, Eric Bruning, and Jessica Wallace.
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