Boat Model, Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 Hydrodrome, ca 1960

The model represents a boat called a hydrodrome, invented by Alexander Graham Bell and Casey Baldwin. This example models the HD-4, fourth in the experimental series of the type. Launched in 1918, the HD-4 had hydrofoils, or fins under the boat that lifted it out of the water to go faster. The HD-4 was powered originally by two 250-hp Renault engines, later replaced by two 360-hp Liberty engines. On 9 September 1919, Bell’s HD-4 achieved the world record for the maximum speed of a watercraft at 70.86 mph, or 61.58 knots. Composed of wood with steel fittings, the HD-4 was 60 feet long overall. The model was given to the Smithsonian in 1962.
Currently not on view
Object Name
boat, experimental
boat, hydrofoil, model
date made
ca 1960
overall: 16 1/2 in x 45 in x 11 in; 41.91 cm x 114.3 cm x 27.94 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Ship Models
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Ship Models
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Institute of Aerospace Sciences, New York, New York
Additional Media

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.