Orkin Craft boats are world famous and well known amongst collectors of antique toy boats.  Orkin made many different styles of boats and are most famous for their warships.  Their battleships sell for a lot of money through auction houses like Sotherby's and are quite impressive looking. I have never been a collector of the warships, however, so I will leave the warships to someone who is an expert in that field.

This page is dedicated to the Orkin Craft pleasure boats.  These boats were made starting in the 1920 and continued up to World War II.  As far as I know, all the models below were sold in three different ways.  One way was that the boat hull was made of metal and fully put together from the factory.  These, to me, are the best examples of the Orkin boats because they have better and more intricate  lines to them since the metal could be bent to the correct hull shape.  The second way was that the boat hull was made of wood and put together by the factory.  The deck and superstructure would be exactly the same as the metal hull boat.  Many collectors prefer the wooden hull over the metal.  The third way was that you could buy the boat as a kit.  You would get a set of plans and then buy the kit with all the deck pieces.  You would have to build the hull yourself.  These, of course, are the least desirable amongst collectors because they were not as well put together as the factory versions.

Click on an image to enlarge.

1. Orkin Craft "Outboarder" (as found):  This is my boat in the condition that I found it.  As you can see, it's all rusty with lots of problems and missing pieces, including the driver.  The motor didn't work and had a broken spring.  I sent the boat and motor to Bill Arick to restore and he did a great job with it.  See the pictures below.Orkin Craft Outboard.jpg (33769 bytes)  Orkin Craft Outboard1.jpg (32607 bytes)  Orkin Craft Outboard2.jpg (36659 bytes)  Orkin Craft Outboard3.jpg (41080 bytes)  Orkin Craft Outboard4.jpg (33991 bytes)  Orkin Craft Outboard5.jpg (26969 bytes)
1a.  Orkin Craft "Outboarder" (after restoration):  Here is the fully restored boat and motor.  Bill did a GREAT job on it!  It looks like new.  If you ever need to restore any model or toy boat you should talk to Bill.
As you can see, the boat looks like a 1920s racer with the driver reaching back to control the motor.  The entire boat is metal as is the motor.  The motor is a wind up with a very large spring that can keep the motor running for a few minutes, not seconds.  I always thought the motor looked like the Indian Silver Arrow or one of the early 1920s big Johnson motors.  Some nice details on the deck compliment the boat.  This is an extremely rare boat.  Very few of these still exist and are highly sought after by collectors. 
Picture coming soon!
2  Orkin Craft "Outboarder" the wood kit version:  This is a replica of the wooden version of the Orkin Craft Outboarder.  The boat was made by Ron Wenzel using the original Orkin Craft plans.  He did a great job!  He used reproduction parts obtained from Bill Arick and then I put on a reproduction Orkin Craft outboard motor.  It's really an awesome piece to see in person. 
Notice that the wood kit version is very different from the metal version above.  The wood version is very square looking and resembles the famous ski sled from that era.  It still retains the indented transom for the outboard motor.
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3.  Orkin Craft "Runabout" the Wood version:  This is the wood version of the Orkin Craft Runabout.  it's 22 inches long and in great shape for it's age.  Notice that it's a little boxier than the metal version, but still has great lines to it.  The hatch cover over the motor is also very different from the metal version. This amazing toy is all original and not restored and still has it's original box!Orkin Runabout 22 inches.jpg (36385 bytes)  Orkin Runabout 22 inches1.jpg (40525 bytes)  Orkin Runabout 22 inches2.jpg (39590 bytes)  Orkin Runabout 22 inches3.jpg (41992 bytes)  Orkin runabout Box.jpg (24665 bytes)
3a.  Orkin Craft "Runabout" the Metal version:  This is the metal version of the Runabout.  Notice the sleeker lines over the wood version and different hatch cover.Picture coming soon!
4.  Orkin Craft "Cabin Cruiser" the wood version:  This is the wooden version of the Orkin Craft Cabin Cruiser.  The deck and all the fittings are the same as the metal version and is beautiful in it's own right.Picture coming soon!
4a.  Orkin Craft "Cabin Cruiser"  the Metal version:   The Orkin Craft Cabin Cruiser is probably the most popular of all the Orkin Craft pleasure boats.  It's very large and truly great looking with lots of details to it.Picture coming soon!
5.  Orkin Craft "Speedster" the wood version:Picture coming soon!
5a.  Orkin Craft "Speedster"  the Metal version:  This is the metal version of the Speedster.DSC00660.JPG (29479 bytes)  DSC00659.JPG (27655 bytes)  DSC00661.JPG (27204 bytes)  DSC00658.JPG (46419 bytes)  DSC00656.JPG (26673 bytes)  DSC00657.JPG (25992 bytes)
6.  Orkin Craft "Tender"  the Wood version:Picture coming soon!
6a.  Orkin Craft  "Tender"  the Metal version:  The first pictures show the condition of the Tender when I found it and the later pictures show it after it was restored by Bill Arick.  Notice that the Tender has two cockpits, one where the driver sits and another in the rear by the transom.  This boat is also longer than the Speedster by several inches.  A very impressive looking boat.Orkin Tender.jpg (40083 bytes)  100-CIMG2429_CIMG2429.JPG (175144 bytes)  100-CIMG2422_CIMG2422.JPG (177449 bytes)  100-CIMG2427_CIMG2427.JPG (176277 bytes)  100-CIMG2428_CIMG2428.JPG (69057 bytes)
7.  Orkin Craft  "Water Taxi"  the Wood version:  I wish I had "before" pictures of this boat.  This was the most sensational restoration of a toy boat that I've ever seen.  I found this boat as nothing more than a hull with a badly broken deck, no superstructure, no fittings and 75% of the paint missing.  I bought it for a few dollars at a flea market but when I brought it home I decided to throw it out.  It was nothing but firewood.  I held onto it for several years and then for the fun of it sent it to Bill Arick with a note that if he couldn't do anything with it to just throw it out.  About a year later this boat arrived in the mail.  I couldn't believe it was the same boat.  It's a very impressive looking boat in person.Picture coming soon!
7a.  Orkin Craft  "Water Taxi"  the Metal version:Picture coming soon!
8.  Orkin Craft  "Dinghy"  the Wood version:Picture coming soon!
8a.  Orkin Craft  "Dinghy"  the Metal version:Picture coming soon!

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© 2006 Mikee and Bob McDonald