Kelvinography – Fishing Boat Engines

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Motor powered fishing boats appeared at the beginning of the 20th century. The first Scottish motor powered fishing boat was ‘Crystal River’ of Wick, with Eyemouth’s ‘Maggie Jane’s’ the second. Early fishing boat engines cost from £70 to £100. By 1919, 23% of the Scottish fishing fleet was motor powered.

This advertisement within the ‘Fish Trades Gazette’ shows a Kelvin engine. It said that 470 British fishing boats were powered by Kelvin engines, and that they were powered from 6 to 60 horse power. These engines could be fuelled by either petrol or paraffin.

In 1914, 60 horse power was quite a powerful engine. Kelvin engines were one of the most successful fishing boat engines of the early 20C. Kelvin engines were made by the Bergius Launch & Engine Company in Glasgow. Walter Bergius started the company in 1906 after installing a motor car engine into a rowing boat.