Stop 1:- Family Wall
The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company was formed in 1878 by two brothers: John and Nathanael Herreshoff.
You can see J.B.’s portrait in the second row from the top on the right hand side. J.B. was the 4th oldest of the Herreshoff children , and was born in 1841. By the age of 7, John had lost sight in one eye, This was possibly due to a genetic condition, as three of his siblings were also visually impaired. His misfortune was compounded seven years later when he was struck in the face by a stick while playing. As a result of this accident, John was completely blind at age 14. He was inconsolable for months.
However, with his mother’s encouragement, he eventually went back to a project he’d begun before the accident: building a 12’ sailboat with his father. J.B. was 16 by the time the boat, which he named METEOR, was finished. He and 9-year-old Nathanael began sailing together regularly. Young Nat sailed under John’s command but served as his surrogate eyes.
You can see a photo of Nathanael in the second row from the top on the left hand side. Nathanael was the 7th of the nine siblings. He was born in 1848. J.B. could at times be domineering towards his younger brother, and this did not change as they got older. In adulthood, J.B. was an aggressive businessman who outfitted their company with the latest and best machinery. N.G. sometimes struggled with J.B.’s authority and they had their share of disputes, but the partnership – rooted in a shared passion for excellence in the boats they designed and built – remained successful for the rest of their lives.
To learn more about the Herreshoff family, click on the Learn More button below or take a look at the signage on the right side of the wall. To continue with the tour, turn right and walk past the small doorway. You should now be standing at the start of the Timeline Wall, at the “Beginnings” section.