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February 1952, I was an ink tracer at Sparkman & Stephens
working overtime at night tracing minesweeper drawings.
One of the ink tracers was a flashy guy who always gave
young me—fresh off of Peckerhead’s planking crew in the
Jersey boatyard—a hard time. We worked at an office away
from the main office, adjoining an office of super brains
working on secret stuff. The only guy from the main office
that ever came over was the blueprint boy.
My best friend was Johnny Kavolchick, a fantastic ink tracer
who once was Chick Young’s assistant drawing the comic
strip “Blondie And Dagwood.” After dinner break, the Flashy
Guy took everything off his
drawing board, pulled the
board cover over himself,
turned off the light and
went to sleep. At a time
like this I thought to my-
self, What would Pecker-
head Armour do? And
Muscle Mouth Crist, what
would he do?
Johnny and I unplugged
the light on Flashy Guy’s
drawing board, picked the
whole thing up while
Flashy Guy snored away
and carried it out in the
hallway and very carefully
set it down in front of the
elevator, with Flashy guy
and his light still on it.
Five minutes later a pissed off looking Olin Stephens,
Rod Stephens, Gil Wyland, Hank Uhle, and three very high
ranking naval officers stormed thru the door.
My goose was
The next morning I was summoned to my boss Matty Klein’s
office where he read the riot act to me. Matty kept ranting
and raving so long that the phone rang before he had time
to fire me. The phone call was from Matty’s boss, Cliff Buer-
ens who told Matty to send me to his office.
Oh Crap!
body is going to fire me, Olin, Rod, Wyland, Hank Uhle.
As I fearfully entered the machinery department Cliff Buer-
ens shook hands with me and said, “Congratulations Dave,
you have just been promoted to draftsman.”
I was soon promoted to Interference checker for the ma-
chinery department. My job was to check all of the drawi
of the AMS 60 and AMS 120 minesweepers and make s
there were not two things in the same place. These draw-
ings were made by men twice my age with vast experien
in engineering. Many of the engineers had a tough time fi
ing their way around the buttock lines, waterlines, and di-
agonals of a ship lines drawing. Westlawn training made
job easy for me.
Working with Peckerhead Armour, Muscle Mouth Crist an
the rest of the crew at Egg Harbor and Pacemaker turned
out to be a big plus for
me and Sparkman &
Stephens. The code of
conduct for guys in the
boat shops and machi
shops was,
“If somebo
screws up do not tell t
I marked up any
mistakes on the prints
and took them to the
guys who drew them s
they could correct the
prints before the boss
saw them.
Twelve years later Mat
Klien and his wife cam
to Atlantic City, had lu
with my wife and I, too
ride around the island
my 32-foot Pacemaker
and handed me an application for full membership in the
Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. It was
signed by Gil Wyland, Hank Uhle, and Matty Klein . . .
Westlawn graduate David Martin has spent a lifetime d
signing all types of boats. His new book,
The Book of Da
Martin Designs
, is available on CD from
o purchase the complete
Book of Dave Mar
on CD, from
Peckerhead’s Apprentice Moves up to
Sparkman & Stephens
The Adventures of a Young Naval Architect
By Dave Martin