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.

Date Made: ca 1960

Subject: Maritime


See more items in: Work and Industry: Maritime, Transportation, Ship Models


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Institute of Aerospace Sciences, New York, New York

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: TR.321484Catalog Number: 321484Accession Number: 245895

Object Name: boat, experimentalboat, hydrofoil, modelOther Terms: boat, experimental; Maritime; Hydrofoil

Measurements: overall: 16 1/2 in x 45 in x 11 in; 41.91 cm x 114.3 cm x 27.94 cm


Record Id: nmah_844113

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