Warren Skiff Detail Wood
Illinois State Museum collection
Donation of Laurel Klinedinst, Havana, IL
This Warren skiff, acquired by Laurel Klinedinst in the 1980s for fifty dollars, was made in the early 1900s (before 1920). Klinedinst had owned a Warren Boat in the 1930s and was looking for a successor. He found it in an old boathouse; he was able to find the owners, purchase the skiff, and refurbish it.
Forward-facing Rowing System
Klinedinst also donated a pair of oars and a wooden-handled ice pick he used to pull the boat up onto the ice.
It is equipped with a pair of reciprocal oars that allow the rower to face his destination while still taking advantage of the stronger muscles of the back, shoulders, and arms to pull the oars.
The manufacturer of this 1880 pair of oars was the W. H. Allen Company in Monmouth, Illinois. The shafts are made from oak and the mechanism is of cast iron.
The Warren Boat Company at Liverpool, Illinois, was a small building owned by Clint "Hinkel" Warren. In it he hand-built two or three boats per year, his only power tool being a large bandsaw he used to shape the oak ribs. He hand-steamed and bent cypress boards in a frame device and even made his own paints from a secret recipe.
The boats had the reputation of being stable in any water conditions. A testimony of this, given by Laurel Klinedinst, was the fact that Klinedinst made it across Meredosia Lake in his Warren skiff on Armistice Day, 1940, during a huge storm that swept across the Midwest creating ten-foot waves that capsized and drowned more than 150 hunters and fishermen on lakes and rivers.
Warren's income came from the rental and sale of boats, numbering about twenty at any one time, to fishermen and tourists during the summer and to duck hunters during the spring and fall. Warren, like many other men of the river, worked odd jobs around the town. The skiff pictured above and a similar one on display at the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery, have been identified as being the only known extant examples of Warren boats made prior to the mid-1930s, when Warren redesigned his boats to handle outboard motors.