Black and white photograph of officers in naval dress at the Elco Naval Academy in Rhode Island.
John F. Kennedy is in the center row, center.
Henry R. Sutphen of Electric Launch Company (Elco) and his designers (Irwin Chase, Bill Fleming, and Glenville Tremaine) visited the United Kingdom to see British motor torpedo boat designs. While visiting the British Power Boat Company, they purchased a 70-foot (21 m) design.
During World War I, the company built five hundred and fifty 80-foot submarine chasers for the British Admiralty.
Between the wars, it introduced the 26-foot Cruisette, a cabin cruiser which became successful. This was followed in the 1930s with 30-foot to 57-foot Veedettesand Flattops.
During World War II, Elco formed the Elco Naval Division in Bayonne, New Jersey. Nearly 400 Elco PT boats (“Patrol Torpedo” torpedo-armed fast attack craft) were produced for the U.S. Navy .
Perhaps the most notable 80-foot PT boat was PT-109, commanded by future president John F. Kennedy. In the film PT 109, the “Elco” script logo can be seen on the cockpit throttle housing in several scenes.
At the end of the war, the company merged with its sister company, Electric Boat, to form the nucleus of a new corporation General Dynamics. In 1949, General Dynamics decided to focus on government contracts for submarines at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut
General Dynamics/ Electric Boat Corporation has been the primary builder of submarines for the United States Navy for over 100 years.