In the summer of 1944, after portaging a heavy wood and canvas canoe on a fishing trip in the Adirondack Mountains, William Hoffman, Vice President of Grumman Aircraft Engineering, had an idea: What about making a canoe from the same lightweight, stretch-formed aluminum that Grumman had used to become the single largest producer of carrier-based fighter planes during World War II. In 1945, the very first aluminum canoe, a 13-footer, was produced at the aircraft plant in Bethpage, Long Island. By the end of World War II Grumman was producing a line of 13', 15', 17', 18', 19', and 20' canoes. The plant relocated to Marathon, N.Y. in 1952 and in 1988, Grumman produced the largest aluminum boat in its history at Marathon. Designed for the Great Lakes, it measured 22' 3". In 1990 the Grumman boat and canoe division was sold to O.M.C. of Illinois, who soon purchased the DuraNautic Boat Company's tooling and assets and moved them to the Marathon Plant. In 1996, a group of former Grumman managers and investors formed the Marathon Boat Group to purchase the canoe and boat operation from O.M.C., and resumed production of Marathon canoes, identical in every respect to the legendary Grummans. In the summer of 2000, a licensing agreement was reached between Northrop Grumman and Marathon Boat Group. The name Grumman is once again back on the canoes where it always belonged.
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