The PT Boat Forum

Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

Forum Name: PT Boats - General

Topic: Huckins Article

I ran across this article about Frank Huckins. It sounds like he was an interesting character. The article mentions that some original construction drawings for the 72" PT 69 are still around.

An interesting claim of his is that Elco and Higgins took his hull design, the "Quadraconic Hull", and "used it to make big profits". I don't know if there's any truth there, the "Administrative History Of PT Boats" gives credit to the Scott-Paine designed PT 9 for certain key aspects of final PT hull specifications.


Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 4:51am
Total Posts: 2044 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am

Hi Jeff,
Yes that claim that Huckins made kind of made me laugh. I am sure that he offered to make his designs available, However I am also just as sure that both Elco and Higgins used their own designs for their own boats which I am positive they both considered were far superior to the Huckins design. It sounds like a lot of bluster to me. Huckins was correct to be very proud of his work, I am sure they were very good boats. I dont really understand why he figured that nobody else was able to design a boat as good as his were? Curious. Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin

Posted By: Jerry Gilmartin | Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 3:03pm
Total Posts: 1290 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm

I agree Jerry. I don't have the Huckins lines, but the Elco and early Higgins hulls have quite different bottoms. Especially at the aft end. Different enough to dispute claims that both stole his design:


They make some cool classic boats these days. Here's their sport fisherman:[url][/url]

Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 4:38pm
Total Posts: 2044 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am

What is interesting here is that Les Gamble, who wrote the forward for my first book "Building the PT Boats", told me that in his experience, the Huckins boats were better riding then both the Elco and the Higgins boats. Cindy Purcell, granddaughter of Mr. Huckins, who continues to run that Company told me her grandfather always felt the other companies took his design. The boats being built today for Huckins are basically from his design of many years ago.

I think there is no doubt that if Huckins were a larger company like Elco and Higgins, many more of this design would have been built, then the 18 made during the War. If not mistaken, the Huckins boats were to end up in the Med, but instead were sent to Hawaii. Huckins could not compete with Elco and Higgins, with both companies holding advantages in the higher echelon of the Navy department . What is also very interesting is that the company that produced the least PT BOATS during the war, outlasted both of the big boys , and is still producing first class boats. This is a true testament to Frank Huckins and his desgin.

Posted By: Frank J Andruss Sr | Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 5:01pm
Total Posts: 3269 | Joined: Oct 9, 2006 - 6:09am



I have a set of original Huckins lines and sections and these compare well with the above.


Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 6:01pm
Total Posts: 919 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm

Thanks for posting that Al. It looks to me like the Huckins has a simpler bottom with a deeper V at the stern and less change along the stations. I'd say the Elco and Higgins were closer to each other, with the Huckins quite different.

Posted By: Jeff D | Posted on: May 30, 2012 - 7:39pm
Total Posts: 2044 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am