Garfield ‘Gar’ Arthur Wood
(December 4, 1880 – June 19, 1971) was an American inventor
builder and racer who held the world water speed record
on several occasions. He was the first man to travel over 100 miles per hour on water.
Gar Wood was born on 4 December 1880 in Mapleton, Iowa
to a family of 13 children. His father was a ferryboat operator on Lake Osakis
, Minnesota, and Gar worked on boats from an early age. In 1911 at 31, he invented a hydraulic
lift for unloading coal from rail trucks. He established the Wood Hoist Co. in Detroit
and soon became a successful businessman. Later he changed the company name to Garwood Industries, which built racing boats, but also capitalized on experience with coal unloaders to successfully produce and market GarWood truck bodies.
In 1916, Wood purchased a motorboat for racing called Miss Detroit
. Wood set a new world record
speed for a boat, (74.870 mph) in 1920 on the Detroit River
, using a new boat called Miss America
. In the following twelve years, Wood built four more Miss Americas
and broke the record five times, raising it to 124.860 mph (200.9 kmp) in 1932 on the St. Clair River
In 1921, Wood raced one of his boats against the Havana Special
train, 1250 miles up the Atlantic
coast from Miami
to New York City
. Wood made the trip in 47 hours and 23 minutes and beat the train by 12 minutes. In 1925, he raced the......