The Inland Seas Steel Clipper is the product of one man's vision of building a better boat. Archie Lang believed that a boat could be built that would take second place to none in the way of appearance, design, sound-proofing and performance. Archie Lang was born on February 19, 1914 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Archie's father was a tool & die maker who moved his family to Cleveland, Ohio in the 1920's. Following in his father's footsteps, Archie graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1933 with vocational training in the tool & die field.
While caulking the bottom of a 28-foot wood cabin cruiser, Archie knew there had to be a better way to build a boat and it was then that he decided to build steel hull boats. He enlisted in the service during World War II and after receiving an honorable discharge, Archie pursued his dream.
The Inland Seas Boat Company opened in late 1945 at 7404 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. This building has been referred to as the "Merry-Go-Round" shop because the plant was so small that the hulls were build on wheeled jigs and then rolled outside to complete the assembly. In the spring of 1946, Hull No. 1 was displayed at the Cleveland Sportsman Show at Cleveland Public Auditorium. Because of overwhelming acceptance by boat customers and the need for more manufacturing space, the Inland Seas Boat Company moved to West 140th Street between Trisket and Lorain in 1948. While in Cleveland, the company grew to 15 employees and produced custom-made steel boats ranging in size from 18' to 40'. All of the materials and welding equipment were purchased in the Cleveland area.
With the expansion of the Cleveland Rapid Transit Rail System in 1955-56, the company again moved. Archie Lange purchased property on First Street and Venetian Drive in Sandusky, Ohio, next to the "new" Cedar Point Causeway and in September of 1957, the Inland Seas Boat Company began production in Sandusky. Within a year, the Cleveland plant ceased production and both operations were consolidated in Sandusky.
Experienced boatbuilders at Inland Seas brought valuable insight into the construction of the Steel Clippers. The hulls are all constructed of the finest 11-gauge steel and welded on the inside of the hull as well as on the outside for strength and durability. The unique design of the super structure built with weep holes notched in each stringer provides excellent drainage and prevents rust accumulation on the inside of the hull. Only the finest engines, transmissions and propellers were used. Because of the quality of the materials and workmanship, boats were never tested for leaks. There were no float tanks in the shop and the hulls were never filled with water as with some of the other manufacturers at that time. Each boat was constructed and the immediately launched in Sandusky Bay for its sea trial. Most Steel Clippers are still afloat.
With the new facility in Sandusky, the Inland Seas Boat Company's goal was to produce 200 boats per year. The company produced pleasure, work, police, fire and ATF government boats ranging in size from 18' to 54'. Most of the pleasure boats were custom-made to the owner's specifications and there are no two alike.
The company grew to 45 employees, but because of increased material expenses, rising interest rates (19%) and proposed unionization of the shop, the company closed its doors in 1970. Archie and Arlene Lang established the Venetian Marina on the site of the Inland Seas Boat Company and Steel Clippers still dock at the marina and use the service facilities.
The Company has moved to new quarters in Sandusky and continues operations; designing and manufacturing custom medical, work, police, dental and other built-to-suit boats. We also work with our customers in restoring Steel Clippers and updating them to todays standards and better than new condition.