Mays Craft





Mayea Book




In 1893 at the age of 15, Louis T. Mayea began working as a boat builder for a prominent boatyard in Detroit.  With the ups and downs of the seasonal boating industry, Louis filled his off time by starting the Mayea Door Lock Company in 1903 and also worked for the East End Ice Company, owned by John F. Hacker, father to the now famous boat designer John L. Hacker.

John F. Hacker was a boating enthusiast and in 1907 started the Detroit Launch and Power Company.  John F. took on the role of company President, Louis T. Mayea as Vice President and Superintendent, and his son John L. Hacker was General Manger.  The Detroit Launch & Power Company designed and built launches, sailboats and cruisers up to 60 ft.  According to The Detroit News, the company "designed most of the local champions" in the Detroit area.  In 1911 they designed and built one of the first step-bottom hydroplane boats in the country named Kitty Hawk II.  That year Kitty Hawk II set a new world speed record of 34.9 m.p.h.  She was reworked a year later and set another speed record of 50.42 m.p.h.  This was the first time in history a boat had traveled over 50 m.p.h.

Around the same time the Detroit Launch and Power Company became involved with a wealthy Detroit business man named Russell Alger.  Alger was head of the Packard Car Company and was also a primary investor in the Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company.  Alger had become interested in trying to land a Wright Model B plane on the water.  He hired the Detroit Launch and Power Company to design and build twin hydroplanes, as they were called, to allow the plane to safely land on water.  These were the first pontoons designed and built for a Wright Brothers plane. The Detroit News reported during the first sea trials, “The Wright brothers were very skeptical of the success of the venture and its success has therefore been considered more of a feat than it might otherwise have been.”

In February of 1911 the Detroit Launch & Power Company incorporated with another renowned Detroit boat builder named Joseph Pouliot.  Later that year, Louis T. Mayea bought out the company and renamed the firm to The Mayea Boat Works.  Louis again expanded the firm to build boats up to 100 ft.  Louis’ new company continued designing and building hydroplanes, launch’s, sailboats and cruisers.

In 1916 Louis was again approached by Russell Alger.  Alger had invested in a new business called the General Aeroplane Company.  The General Aeroplane Company commissioned Mayea Boat Works to build a mahogany, two-passenger, biplane flying boat. These flying boats were sold to the U.S. Navy as training planes.  They were the first Michigan-designed and manufactured aircraft to be sold to the U.S. Armed Forces.

In August of 1916, Louis sold his buildings in Detroit to his old partner, John L. Hacker, who had recently moved back from New York. Louis moved all his operations to Fair Haven, Michigan and renamed the company The Mayea Boat and Aeroplane Works. Louis continued to design and build boats for enthusiasts such as J.M. Studebaker, Jr., of the Studebaker Car Corporation in South Bend, Indiana until his death in 1940.